Using your fingers to think: Enabling subjective routing with a rubber band metaphor

Andrew Bennett, Matthew D'Orazio, Christopher Lueg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a class of complex problems where solutions must satisfy multiple subjective criteria, while meeting specific quantifiable constraints. Route planning for leisurely travel is an example of a problem in this class. Constraints including total available time, transit times, and one's budget and subjective interests determine whether a potential solution is acceptable to a prospective traveler. In this paper we present a route planning (routing) interface that metaphorically leverages various elastic properties of a rubber band to allow for playful interaction with the relevant constraints. Each of these properties-attenuation, tension, and color-were integrated into an experimental system and then investigated in a series of task-based evaluations. Our research shows this playful interaction enables potential travelers to explore the solution space in order to find a route that meets, not only the easily quantifiable constraints, but also their own subjective preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-413
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 24 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • constraints
  • elasticity
  • exploration
  • Interaction
  • metaphor
  • tangible
  • tangible interaction
  • tourism
  • visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


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