Abstract

Collaborative information seeking often takes place in co-located settings; such opportunities may be planned (business colleagues meeting in a conference room or students working together in a library) or spontaneous (family members gathered in their living room or friends meeting at a café). Surface computing technologies (i.e., interactive tabletops) hold great potential for enhancing collaborative information seeking activities. Such devices provide engaging direct manipulation interactions, facilitate awareness of collaborators’ activities, and afford spatial organization of content. However, current tabletop technologies also present several challenges that creators of collaborative information seeking system must account for in their designs. In this article, we explore the design space for collaborative search systems on interactive tabletops, discussing the benefits and challenges of creating search applications for these devices. We discuss how features of our tabletop search prototypes TeamSearch, FourBySix Search, Cambiera, and WeSearch, illustrate different aspects of this design space.