UIMarks: Quick Graphical Interaction with Specific Targets

UIMarks is a system that lets users specify on-screen targets and associated actions by means of a graphical marking language. UIMarks supplements traditional pointing by providing an alternative mode in which users can quickly activate these marks. Associated actions can range from basic pointing facilitation to complex sequences possibly involving user interaction: one can leave a mark on a palette to make it more reachable, but the mark can also be configured to wait for a click and then automatically move the pointer back to its original location, for example. The system has been implemented on two different platforms, Metisse and OS X.

More details can be found in our paper [1] where we also compared UIMarks to traditional pointing on a set of elementary and composite tasks in an abstract setting. Although pure pointing was not improved, the programmable automation supported by the system proved very effective.

This video can also give you an idea of what the system can do..

The system is freely available as part of the Metisse window system. You need the current cvs and to add the line "sma UIMarks On" to your extra config file (you need to press both the Alt and Windows Key to enter UIMarks mode).

The system is also available as a stand alone application for Mac OS X. Mercurial repository here.

Contact Olivier Chapuis or Nicolas Roussel


[1]  O. Chapuis and N. Roussel, UIMarks: Quick Graphical Interaction with Specific Targets. In  UIST '10: Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, 173-182, ACM, October 2010.
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