A role for haptics in mobile interaction: initial design using a handheld tactile display prototype

CHI, pp. 171-180, 2006.

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new handheld display platformspecific usage scenariotactilemultimodaldesign processMore(16+)
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The present work represents the first cycle of an iterative design process through which we seek to extend mobile user interfaces by sidestepping a vicious cycle typical to the introduction of novel interaction techniques and technology

Abstract:

Mobile interaction can potentially be enhanced with well- designed haptic control and display. However, advances have been limited by a vicious cycle whereby inadequate haptic technology obstructs inception of vitalizing applications. We present the first stages of a systematic design effort to break that cycle, beginning with specific us...More

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Introduction
  • Touch, interaction offers many potential benefits for the use of mobile devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs and portable media players.
  • These devices are designed to be worn or carried wherever the user goes, and must be usable in a wide range of use contexts.
  • Because touch receptors can be found all over the body, it is usually possible to find a suitable location to provide a haptic stimulus without environmental interference
Highlights
  • Haptic, or touch, interaction offers many potential benefits for the use of mobile devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs and portable media players
  • In this paper we present the first stages of a systematic design effort to match the potentials of haptic technology to the challenges of contemporary mobile interaction design (Figure 1)
  • Some (N=3/15) participants experienced mild tactile fatigue, usually expressed as numbness, which was overcome by repositioning the finger to use a different part of skin, or taking a brief break
  • The present work represents the first cycle of an iterative design process through which we seek to extend mobile user interfaces by sidestepping a vicious cycle typical to the introduction of novel interaction techniques and technology
  • With the data provided by the perceptual characterization studies, it is possible to design and select appropriate haptic icons for the applications originally envisioned, and to prototype the applications and to use more conventional usability testing methods to iterate and improve their designs
  • We have described how a single iteration of task scenario development, hardware design and perceptual characterization has forged a connection between the mobile application space and a tactile display concept, and directly informed the hardware re-engineering process
Results
  • During user evaluation the authors were able to learn how people perceive the device qualitatively.
  • Since the sliding function was not used in the perceptual characterization studies, it is not known whether this report would be affected by using the slider for input
Conclusion
  • CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK

    The present work represents the first cycle of an iterative design process through which the authors seek to extend mobile user interfaces by sidestepping a vicious cycle typical to the introduction of novel interaction techniques and technology.
  • Limited deployment of sophisticated haptic hardware has impeded field-demonstrated applications; likewise, there is minimal user familiarity with basic interaction principles to support conventional usability testing.
  • This makes it difficult to build a value proposition and impedes further investment in pioneering hardware.
  • With the data provided by the perceptual characterization studies, it is possible to design and select appropriate haptic icons for the applications originally envisioned, and to prototype the applications and to use more conventional usability testing methods to iterate and improve their designs
Summary
  • Introduction:

    Touch, interaction offers many potential benefits for the use of mobile devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs and portable media players.
  • These devices are designed to be worn or carried wherever the user goes, and must be usable in a wide range of use contexts.
  • Because touch receptors can be found all over the body, it is usually possible to find a suitable location to provide a haptic stimulus without environmental interference
  • Objectives:

    In this paper the authors present the first stages of a systematic design effort to match the potentials of haptic technology to the challenges of contemporary mobile interaction design (Figure 1).
  • The aim is to explore how tactile technology can meet user needs in ways that are not currently met by visual and auditory interfaces alone.
  • In the step of the process, the authors discover the platform’s expressive capabilities through a user-based perceptual characterization to aid in appropriately mapping haptic signals to the usage scenarios.
  • The authors reconsider the device applications originally envisioned in light of the characterization results, and discuss how the findings will guide further iterative development of the haptic stimuli, user interface hardware and applications
  • Results:

    During user evaluation the authors were able to learn how people perceive the device qualitatively.
  • Since the sliding function was not used in the perceptual characterization studies, it is not known whether this report would be affected by using the slider for input
  • Conclusion:

    CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK

    The present work represents the first cycle of an iterative design process through which the authors seek to extend mobile user interfaces by sidestepping a vicious cycle typical to the introduction of novel interaction techniques and technology.
  • Limited deployment of sophisticated haptic hardware has impeded field-demonstrated applications; likewise, there is minimal user familiarity with basic interaction principles to support conventional usability testing.
  • This makes it difficult to build a value proposition and impedes further investment in pioneering hardware.
  • With the data provided by the perceptual characterization studies, it is possible to design and select appropriate haptic icons for the applications originally envisioned, and to prototype the applications and to use more conventional usability testing methods to iterate and improve their designs
Tables
  • Table1: Stimuli used in the MDS studies
Download tables as Excel
Related work
  • While there is promise for the use of haptics on a mobile device, there are few examples of functioning implementations. Some underlying difficulties are listed below.

    • Lack of mechanical grounding. Applying low-frequency forces to a user requires a fixed mechanical ground. In a mobile context, the forces could be created relative to the user, which imposes constraints on the physical design and force output capabilities. An alternative is tactile display, which generates no net force on the user, but consequently limits the scale of sensations transmitted.

    • Stringent power, size, and weight constraints apply in mobile contexts. Use of a conventional motor for forcefeedback introduces a significant impact on all three.
Funding
  • This work was supported in part by the BC Innovation Council
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