as paper, resists spilled coffee, and
of course, allows the desk to act as
an impromptu seat.
can offer once you let it influence
how you work [ 4]. Here, I reflect on
my experience and these different
influences, and offer my perspective on the future.
November + December 2012
Shortly after I sat down to begin
work, one of the first things to
become apparent was that the
limited pixel density of the projection (approximately 20 DPI, relative to the approximately 96 DPI
of a standard monitor) influenced
what it was possible to use the
desk for. For instance, while I was
able to adjust to reading short
bursts of text on the desk, I was
never able to comfortably use it for
longer, focused reading.
Prolonged exposure to bright
projected light soon became
unpleasant, especially in the win-
ter evenings. Fortunately, selecting
a black desktop background and
turning down the brightness of
the projector alleviated the issue.
However, if a window was maxi-
mized to the desk, it would again
flood my visual field with light.
Similarly, the differences in DPI
between the monitor and the desk
meant that windows that were
relatively small on the monitor
underwent a jump in size when
moved onto the desk. Although I
understood why it happened, this
was unexpected and annoying.
For most tasks, the fast and precise interactions offered by the
mouse and keyboard vastly superseded the stylus. While their ease
of use is undoubtedly affected
by practice and the design of the
UI, there are underlying reasons
why they remained my preferred
input method. First, after long
periods of time, it became tiresome to repeatedly use the big
muscle groups in my back, arm,
and shoulder to perform tasks that
could be achieved with a mere
flick of the wrist using the mouse.
Second, the mouse and keyboard
could be used to interact with
both the vertical and horizontal
display planes. Since the monitor
lacked a touch screen, the same
could not be said for the stylus.
Last, the adaptability and generality of mouse and keyboard meant it
was easy to flip from task to task
without worrying about interrupting my workflow to swap interaction modality.
Layout and Organization
To enable more ways of arranging
the digital items in my workspace,
I added the ability to rotate and
scale certain application windows.
This both looked good and offered
a solution to the size jumps
caused by DPI differences between
the screens. Naturally, shrinking
windows made them harder to
read, but this was not always a
big problem for applications that
displayed video or featured large
Larger display sizes are often
considered a high-value feature
[ 5], and I was keen to see what
kind of impact the desk would