Determining the efficacy of multi-parameter tactons in the presence of real-world and simulated audio distractors

Huimin Qian, Ravi Kuber, Andrew Sears, Elizabeth Stanwyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper describes two studies that examine the ways in which parameters of touch can be manipulated to support human-mobile interaction, providing designers with greater awareness regarding the range of tactile icons (tactons) for integration with interfaces. The first study examined the efficacy of presenting tactons via low-cost eccentric rotating motor vibration technologies, often used in the design of wearable interfaces. Findings highlight the role of intensity in supporting tactile recognition as well as the impact of duration, interval, and intensity on task time. In our second study, we build on these results by comparing the impact of simulated and real-world auditory distractors on the perception of four parameter tactons. Findings indicate the negative effects of realistic ambient sounds on recognition accuracy, time taken and cognitive workload, but the results also indicate that some tactile designs (e.g. those encoded with stronger intensities) better resist the effects of these auditory distractions. Our research suggests that mobile devices should be evaluated under real-world scenarios to ensure that tactile feedback presented via a mobile device meets the needs of mobile users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-594
Number of pages23
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 19 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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