WritLarge: Ink Unleashed by Unified Scope, Action, & Zoom

Haijun Xia, Ken Hinckley, Michel Pahud, Xiao Tu, Bill Buxton

Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17) |

Published by ACM

Honorable Mention

WritLarge is a freeform canvas for early-stage design on electronic whiteboards with pen+touch input. The system aims to support a higher-level flow of interaction by ‘chunking’ the traditionally disjoint steps of selection and action into unified selection-action phrases. This holistic goal led us to address two complementary aspects:

  • SELECTION, for which we devise a new technique known as the Zoom-Catcher that integrates pinch-to-zoom and selection in a single gesture for fluidly selecting and acting on content;


  • ACTION, where we demonstrate how this addresses the combined issues of navigating, selecting, and manipulating content. In particular, the designer can transform select ink strokes in flexible and easily-reversible representations via semantic, structural, and temporal axes of movement that are defined as conceptual ‘moves’ relative to the specified content.

This approach dovetails zooming with lightweight specification of scope as well as the evocation of context-appropriate commands, at-hand, in a location-independent manner. This establishes powerful new primitives that can help to scaffold higher-level tasks, thereby unleashing the expressive power of ink in a compelling manner.

WritLarge: Ink Unleashed by Unified Scope, Action, & Zoom

WritLarge is a prototype system from Microsoft Research for the 84″ Microsoft Surface Hub, a large electronic whiteboard supporting both pen and multi-touch input. WritLarge allows creators to unleash the latent expressive power of ink in a compelling manner. Using multitouch, the user can simply frame a portion of their “whiteboard” session between thumb and forefinger, and then act on such a selection (such as by copying, sharing, organizing, or otherwise transforming the content) using the pen wielded by the opposite hand. This approach demonstrates how pen and touch inputs complement one another and afford completely new—and completely natural—ways of using freeform content to “ink at the speed of thought” on Surface devices.