Notes on “Tap is the New Click” (Dan Saffer)

(January 23, 2009) Dan Saffer, principal designer at Kicker Studio, covers the basics of touchscreen and gestural technology including: ergonomics, a brief history, prototyping and documenting, and how to communicate the presence of a gestural interface to users.
My notes:
Types of touchscreens:
  • resistive: pressing two layers together creates the touch event
  • surface wave: finger disrupts ultrasonic waves
  • capacitive: finger conducts electricity
  • infrared: finger breaks grid of infrared beams

Touch target size

  • Fitts’ Law: time it takes to get to a target = distance to target / size of target
  • As close to user as possible to avoid users’ covering the screen with their hands.
  • Create reasonably-sized targets — no smaller than 1 cm in diameter/square

Touch target tricks: 1) iceberg tips 2) adaptive targets

Swimlanes framework is a great way to show how the interactivity of a display works.

Turning gestures into code

  • variables: what are you measuring
  • data: get the data in from the sensor
  • computation: determine diff btw data
  • patterns: what do the sums mean
  • action: if a pattern is matched, do something

Three zones of engagement:
attraction -> observation -> interaction

The ergonomics of human gestures

  • avoid hyperextension or extreme stretches
  • avoid repetition
  • relax muscles
  • utilize relaxed, neutral positions
  • avoid staying in a static position
  • avoid internal or external force on joints

The complexity of the gesture should equal the complexity of the task.

The best designs are those that “dissolve into behavior” (Naoto Fukasawa)

The best, most natural designs, then, are those that match the behavior of the system to the gesture humans might already do to enable that behavior.

Giving our natural gestures more influence.

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