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Touch improves a user interface in two ways. It improves user satisfaction. More importantly, it improves user performance. Often it can do both.

Touch-enabled user interfaces improve user performance by supplementing visual and audio information. In some settings, and among some users, visual and auditory feedback are poor or inappropriate conductors of information. For example:

Even under excellent conditions for viewing and hearing, touch substantially improves user performance. Consider this:

How is it that a person can drink a cup of coffee while simultaneously reading a newspaper?

Now imagine without force feedback...

First, try to imagine holding the paper or turning the pages without feeling them!

So many actions are made easy with the sense of touch.

This example has a direct counterpart in computer user interfaces. Without touch, the reader of a long document must interrupt his or her reading, visually move the pointer to the scroll bar, click to view the next page, and resume reading. For subsequent pages, clicking in place works, provided that the user has not inadvertently moved the pointer. If a scroll bar had the feel of a trough and tended to attract and hold the pointer within it, or give a tap when the pointer passed over it, the reader could find and operate the scroll bar without thought and without losing time by suspending and resuming his or her reading. In this example, and many more, touch improves performance by making the desktop feel like the physical world. Utilizing the highly developed human sense of touch to gather, process, and act upon information improves user performance.


How the senses work together New!

Technological innovation strives to recreate reality by engaging all our senses. Why color TV when black and white was OK? Why stereo when mono worked? Why surround sound when we had stereo? In each case, the latter is more realistic, more authentic, more engaging, more visceral. Better.

Our senses work as a collective. Adding smell to the other four senses doesn't improve a meal by just 20 percent. The unified value is greater than the sum of the individual senses. And you can't substitute one sense for another without a loss of quality and experience.

Touch is not just one of the three major senses, it's significantly quality enhancing. Touch unifies the spatial senses, those you use to navigate your way through the world — sight, sound, and touch. Touch produces reflex-rate response in milliseconds and supplies a completeness that sight and sound together can't compensate for — touch makes an experience truly personal.

Source URL: http://www.immersion.com/mobility/solutions/ (Archived)

Sensory Harmony (Sound + Visual + Touch)

Desktop Computing

Web Computing


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