iFeelPixel homepage Activated with Immersion TouchSense Technology

Web Computing - Tactile effects library

Graphics, pictures and to a smaller extent, sound, make Web pages more attractive and effective than plain text. Touch effects further enhance Web pages, making them easier to understand and use, and more fun, too.

Many home pages are crowded with small type. In an attempt to reduce visual clutter, some Web page designers are abandoning the underscore convention for marking text links and the blue outline convention for identifying graphic links. As a result, on some pages, it can be difficult to see what is a link and what is not. With a TouchSense mouse, Web page visitors can feel links as they move the mouse over a page. Links feel like detents or divots that attract the mouse. When exploring pages that contain forms, TouchSense mouse users can feel menu choices, text, and check boxes. Relying on touch for detecting links frees Web page visitors to concentrate their visual attention on the page content, which makes communication of that content more effective and the experience of the page more enjoyable.

Web page designers and programmers can also add custom effects to pages. Custom effects are packaged in touch effect files called IFR (Immersion Force Resource) files, which browsers download and cache like other Web page resource files such as GIF or WAV. Touch effect files are small compared to graphics and sound effects, so they do not appreciably increase download time. A browser plugin supplied with the TouchSense mouse interprets custom effects for Netscape Navigator; an ActiveX control does the same for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Touch-enabled Web pages do not interfere with the experience of users who have ordinary mice; their browsers interpret the pages as if they had no touch effects.

In addition to benefiting from the standard features provided by Immersion Desktop, web page developers can also synchronize custom touch effects with animation and sound effects or apply specialized touch effects to pictures or other elements of their web pages. For example, in a children's story, a picture of an old car might be labeled "Start the Car." Clicking the car image could make the image shake and the mouse vibrate in synchronization with the sound of a starter motor. Once the car started, the animation, sound, and feeling of the mouse could all change to mimic the quiet smoothness of a running engine. Reinforcing sight with synchronized sound and touch gives users a satisfying experience that is much more like "being there" than watching a simple animation.

Immersion TouchSense technology also integrates smoothly and easily with content created in web animation tools such as Macromedia Flash and Shockwave. A dynamic combination of visual, audio, and tactile content will draw users in and keep them engaged, surfing, and exploring a site longer and more thoroughly.

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