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    Interaction On The Move: Exploring Tilt-Based Text Input For Smartphones When Walking

    HCI 2017 - Digital make-believe

    Proceedings of the 31st International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2017)

    University of Sunderland, St Peter’s campus, Sunderland, UK, 3 - 6 July 2017


    Matthew Butcher, Janet C. Read, Daniel Fitton & Gavin Sim



    For the past decade it has been a common thing to notice mobile phone users using their devices in many different environments, but in recent years the rapid evolution of smartphones with improved touch screen and interactive capabilities has led to a rise in usage whilst on the move. This paper presents the results of an experiment with student users to help explore the performance of a tilt-based text input application on smartphone devices. This experiment considered 2 independent variables with 4 conditions: grip (one-handed, two-handed) and mobility (sitting, walking). The study involved 12 participants aged 18 - 26 who were each required to carry out numerous selection tasks for each condition.

    This paper explains the methods behind the experiment along with the test procedure have been implemented, it attempts to justify major decisions that have been made and includes an in-depth critical reflection of the findings. The qualitative results of the study unveiled interesting evidence of more errors whilst on the move, with the optimal condition being sitting using a two-handed grip. Qualitative results from a survey after the experiment revealed similar findings, that users found it much easier to use the application whilst sitting, and sitting one handed being the easiest condition.

    A similar experiment was previously carried out in 2013 which explores the same tilt-based application but under a different testing environment and the performance of a younger user group, the study highlighted the potential value of tilt as a technique for text input for teenage users. This study expands on previous research and identifies that there is a much greater chance for users to perform interactive tasks worse when using smartphone applications on the move instead of using them sitting down.


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