Through a qualitative investigation using the phenomenological approach, this research study will explored the lived experience of individuals using a multi-touch interface and device for a group collaboration activity in a shared workspace. The research question was “what is the experience of users interacting simultaneously to complete a common task, with the display output of a multi-touch device?” Two rounds of user testing of approximately three participants for each respective round, performed a Six Sigma Affinity Diagram exercise using a multi-touch device. The exercise was a brainstorming component to the Six Sigma process in which qualitative data is sorted into groupings to be categorized. A moderator certified as a Six Sigma Green-Belt facilitated during the Affinity Diagram exercises. Participants of each testing round were individually interviewed by the researcher. All participants attended a focus group session for their respective testing round. The moderator was interviewed after each round and attended both focus group sessions. The described experiences were compared to the context-awareness indicators of Hornecker et al. (2008) for team collaboration. The results of the study indicate that participants increased their level of awareness of each others’ actions. The multi-touch provided visual benefits where all participants could observe both the data and the actions of the other participants. Some challenges were experienced by the participants such as touch sensitivity of the multi-touch device used in the study. This study offers recommendations for future multi-touch research and financial implications for both research and industry. A Provisional U.S. Patent #62/327,354 was filed in April 2010 for the hardware device developed during this study. Also a technical article was published on the Adobe Developer Connection web site, in the Education Developer Center category, entitled “Adobe AIR and Multi-touch for Multi-user Collaboration” (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/edu/articles/frank_garofalo.html).


qualitative, phenomenological, multi-touch, multitouch, group, team collaboration, Adobe Flash

Date of this Version



Computer Graphics Technology

Department Head

Dr. Marvin Sarapin

Month of Graduation


Year of Graduation



Master of Science in Computer Graphics Technology

Head of Graduate Program

Dr. Gary Bertoline

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Dr. James L. Mohler

Advisor 2

Prof. Terry L. Burton

Advisor 3

Prof. Rodney C. Vandeveer