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    Tactile Feedback for Ambient Awareness in Mobile Interactions

    People and Computers XXIV Games are a Serious Business

    Proceedings of HCI 2010
    The 24th British HCI Group Annual Conference
    University of Abertay, Dundee, UK

    6 - 10 September 2010


    Stephen Brewster and Aurora Constantin


    The study of tactile feedback has attracted increasing interest in HCI over recent years. Similar to icons, tactile messages, or Tactons, can encode and transmit information through the touch sense [1]. We report an experiment to investigate if we can present contextual information to a user in a low attention, ambient manner. In this case, it is done by changing the tactile ‘feel’ of buttons on a touchscreen keyboard to indicate external events, for example when a friend is close by. Very short Tactons (<=300ms) on each key press were changed in roughness and rhythm to indicate the events. Results showed that users correctly identified the Tactons for the different events with a rate of 88% when 180 Tactons were presented in 45 minutes, and 98% when the Tactons were presented in a more realistic manner. This shows that changing tactile feedback can be an effective method of presenting ambient information on a mobile device.


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