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Understanding the Touch Experience


Touch devices and input are becoming more and more common. Because of their prevalence, the performance differences between mouse and touch have been studies in terms of speed and accuracy. However, a less detailed look has gone into the meaning and value of an interaction. For example, consider the implications for designers of interactive surface applications:

  • if using touch input improved a user’s perceived competence with a command and control system.
  • if using a tangible interface gave users a heightened sense of control and volition in undertaking the design work of a tabletop layout task
  • or if using a mouse opened teams up to hearing alternate views from colleagues in a collaborative analytics task.

Not only would the experience of using surface applications be improved in these scenarios, but the enriched experience could also result in enhanced productivity through better solutions that are achieved more rapidly.

In this work, we present a methodology for applying techniques used on hedonically inspired systems, such as games, to determine the difference in perceived competence, autonomy/control, or relatedness to other people.  By having users undertake a game-based task while using mouse and touch, we show that touch outperforms mouse for a variety of measures, without a loss in performance metrics.

People

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Diane Watson

University of Waterloo
Max Birk

Max Birk

University of Saskatchewan
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Mark Hancock

University of Waterloo
Regan Mandryk

Regan Mandryk

University of Saskatchewan


Publications

  • D. Watson, M. Hancock, R. Mandryk, and M. Birk, Deconstructing the Touch Experience, in In Proc ITS, St. Andrews, Scotland, 2013, pp. 199-208.

    In this paper, we evaluate the performance and experience differences between direct touch and mouse input on horizontal and vertical surfaces using a simple application and several validated scales. We find that, not only are both speed and accuracy improved when using the multi-touch display over a mouse, but that participants were happier and more engaged. They also felt more competent, in control, related to other people, and immersed. Surprisingly, these results cannot be explained by the intuitiveness of the controller, and the benefits of touch did not come at the expense of perceived workload. Our work shows the added value of considering experience in addition to traditional measures of performance, and demonstrates an effective and efficient method for gathering experience during inter-action with surface applications. We conclude by discussing how an understanding of this experience can help in designing touch applications.

    @InProceedings{watson:2013:touchexperience,
    author = {Diane Watson and Mark Hancock and Regan Mandryk and Max Birk},
    title = {Deconstructing the Touch Experience},
    booktitle = {In Proc ITS},
    year = {2013},
    abstract = {In this paper, we evaluate the performance and experience differences between direct touch and mouse input on horizontal and vertical surfaces using a simple application and several validated scales. We find that, not only are both speed and accuracy improved when using the multi-touch display over a mouse, but that participants were happier and more engaged. They also felt more competent, in control, related to other people, and immersed. Surprisingly, these results cannot be explained by the intuitiveness of the controller, and the benefits of touch did not come at the expense of perceived workload. Our work shows the added value of considering experience in addition to traditional measures of performance, and demonstrates an effective and efficient method for gathering experience during inter-action with surface applications. We conclude by discussing how an understanding of this experience can help in designing touch applications. },
    year = {2013},
    address = {St. Andrews, Scotland},
    pages = {199-208},
    pdf = {touchexperience.pdf},
    doi = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2512349.2512819},
    subtype = {conference}
    }

Understanding the Touch Experience
UW Touchlab