Tabletops use an egocentric reference system.

Objects on a tabletop are small.

Objects on a tabletop are controllable.

Objects on a tabletop are close by.

Objects on a tabletop tend to be scattered.

To interact with a tabletop, you look at it.

To learn what’s on a tabletop, you look at it directly.

You know things exist on a tabletop based on sensory perception: “It’s there because I see it.”

New information about a tabletop overwrites the old easily.

Your memory of a tabletop fades quickly.

Your focus on a tabletop tends to be specific, you only take in what you need.

Your understanding of the tabletop is fine-grained and optimized for use.

In the digital world, most software and apps function like tabletops. Examples include:

  • Trello
  • Gmail
  • Sketch
  • Mint
  • Bank portals

Tabletops tend to consist of small, controllable objects in your immediate vicinity. They tend to rely on continuous sensory input, because you can see most of the experience at once). They also tend to reward poking around to see what buttons do and be personal to you.