A key challenge in human–swarm interaction is to design a usable interface that allows the human operators to monitor and control a scalable swarm. In our study, we restrict the interactions to only one-to-one communications in local neighborhoods between UAV-UAV and operator-UAV. This type of proximal interactions will decrease the cognitive complexity of the human–swarm interaction to O(1). In this paper, a user study with 100 participants provides evidence that visualizing a swarm as a heat map is more effective in addressing usability and acceptance in human–swarm interaction. We designed an interactive interface based on the users’ preference and proposed a controlling mechanism that allows a human operator to control a large swarm of UAVs. We evaluated the proposed interaction interface with a complementary user study. Our testbed and results establish a benchmark to study human–swarm interaction where a scalable swarm can be managed by a single operator.