Enhancing the User Experience Through the Sense of Touch with Bob Heubel


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Touchscreens have become the default UI in mobile devices, but with their adoption, the lack of tactile feedback is a common complaint. The best applications today, involve multi-sensory – HD graphics and quality sound are no longer sufficient to stand out from the crowd. Haptics (vibration touch feedback) lets people feel what is going on in advance – powering intuitive experiences. Haptics can add a sense of realism which is unexpected in mobile applications. Android developers can now offer different haptic effects in mobile applications by leveraging new free tools and solutions that easily integrate haptic effects feedback into their designs.

In this session Immersion’s Haptic Expert Team, will demonstrate how to enhance the user experience, differentiate your applications from the hundreds and thousands of apps in the market and take your application to the next level of interactions. The presentation will introduce the concept of haptic feedback, development tools, and good design principles for creating haptic effects for mobile apps.

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  • Agenda – I will answer these questions for you todayWho is Immersion?What does touch feedback or tactile design mean?Why is touch feedback essential to the mobile UI?How can touch feedback be applied to better the UX?What are the best design practices for tactile feedback?What are touch feedback methods across platforms?Why concentrate on the Android vibration method?What is the extended vibration method for Android?
  • Immersion is the leader in haptic technology.Our tactile touch feedback technology, also known as Haptics, has shipped in over a billion mobile and gaming devicesSome of our hardware partners that make these tactile feedback products include: Samsung, Motorola, LG, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Sony, Microsoft, Logitech and many othersImmersion is an intellectual property company with many patents. It is these patents that our partners license when they create hardware with tactile touch effect capabilityAnd Immersion has offices around the world to support our hardware and content development partners
  • All of these devices have vibration motors in them that allow developers to give touch feedback feeling to their users. I’ll explain why this is important and some design guidelines.
  • This is a representation of how much of our cerebral cortex is used to process our sense of touch across different parts of our body.Notice how much processing is done through our hands.This is why touch feedback design is so critical to the mobile user experience.Our sense of touch is how we perceive the world around us, including virtual mobile screen environments for applications and games.
  • Everyone in this room is probably familiar with vibration technology in mobile devices. But the technology itself doesn’t tell us what it’s good for. To understand what it’s good for, we need to look at what touch perception meansto people. When we look at tactile touch metaphors, this picture becomes more clear: Tactile touch feedback is intimate, immediate, and emotional with an emphasis on communication. More than other sensory metaphors of sight or sound, tactile touch metaphors are used to express subtleties of feeling and attitude.
  • Does anyone here look engaged with the world around them, much less the person right next to them? No, and this is exactly where touch feedback can help to bring back a more emotional and realistic connection in mobile interfaces. Constance Classen, whom I’ll paraphrase here said, “We live in a society of the image, in which there is often nothing actually there to feel. The inability to touch the subject matter of the images that surround us, even though these have a tremendous impact on our lives, produces a sense of alienation, the feeling of being out of touch with one’s society, one’s environment. Where more and more the user becomes an isolated fragment in an indifferent universe.”
  • Let’s start at the most basic level of mobile touch feedback.This is a button, right? It looks like a button. And when I press it, it can sound like a button. But without a tactile touch feeling this virtual button this is a very different experience than pressing a real mechanical button.This is why most mobile hardware manufacturers, like Samsung, Motorola, and Fujitsu add a tactile touch vibration event to their touchscreen QWERTY keyboard to better simulate a real button feel that completes the user experience of seeing, hearing and feeling the button like we expect in the real world.
  • Tactile touch feedback is immediate, emotional and intimate with an emphasis on communication.When we have a “feeling” [“deep down”] about something, even if it may contradict what we have “heard”, or what we “see right in front of our eyes”, we are told to trust our “feeling”--because it’s the most reliable source of truth.So, in the most basic level of the user experience, good tactile touch design for mobile devices really is about adding “truth” to your applications and games
  • The mobile platform and computers in general are not good at providing intimate or emotional communication. We have to create work around solutions like a smiley face emoticon in emails to express the underlying emotional meaning of our words. Tactile feedback can express intimacy and emotion without such work around abstractions like emoticons.For example, if my wife sent me a message with the tactile feeling of a heartbeat being played, I’d feel that intimacy and emotion and immediately understand the loving tone of her message. The point here is that we can use tactile effects to make the device feel more expressive and usable. And if it feels more usable, it IS more usable.
  • So to summarize, our three main goals when designing tactile feedback effects in our mobile design are: To make the phone (feel) more usable thru such things as bringing back user interface (UI) button confirmations To make apps feel more satisfying by adding in tactile feedback effects that simulate real world touch experiences And to bring friends within arm’s reach by making communication feel more intimate as if you could literally reach through your mobile device and touch them using a simulated touch effect
  • In the console gaming space, we’ve already learned the value of tactile feedback design in in rumble pads and force feedback racing wheels.For example, when Sony introduced their PS3, they removed the Dual Shock motors from their gamepads, citing that gamers did not really want or need Haptics in their games. However, just six months later Sony changed their minds after an outcry for rumble support from their community and brought back their Dual Shock gamepads with rumble feedback effects.This same value now applies to mobile game content in games like Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto Vice City and Max Payne Mobile for Android where you can feel all different weapons firing. Or Sega’s Sonic title for Android were you can feel all of Sonic’s in-game action.
  • Touch trail live demo here
  • This was a concept that we turned into a real app at a recent Hackathon. It’s a clock, where you can tell the time by feeling the clock face. The clock gives a tactile bump as your fingers run over the hands. One bump for the minute hand, two bumps for the hour hand, and three bumps when the hands are on top of each other. You can check the time without looking at your watch or screen and without seeming rude. This is also useful for the visually impaired.
  • Android hardware OEMs like Samsung and mobilecarriers are looking for good feeling games as a competitive advantage against their number one competitor Apple.Google is looking for games to feature in their Play Store that are different than most games. And if you develop for both Apple and Android platforms you can benefit from the both large consumer groups while differentiating your app from the millions of other apps in the marketplace.
  • Ok, so how does one program these tactile effects into mobile apps?
  • All the mobile platforms offer some method of adding tactile feedback into your apps. But in most cases the actual tactile effect design is tedious involving programming of specific motor on/off durations and motor intensity levels. Or in the case of iOS, you are only allowed to call a set duration buzzing effect.Because of this, few mobile developer have made the effort to add the sense of touch feedback into their apps. This is why my company has looked into methods to make mobile tactile design easier for designers and programmers, starting with the most open platform, Android.
  • Everyone should be aware that Android is now the biggest selling mobile platform. Android devices are outselling iPhone and every other smartphone platform. Therefore, as the largest marketplace, Android has huge potential for developers.So, my company created a pre-designed tactile feedback effect library that is a FREE DOWNLOAD for designers and developers.We can give this library away for free because our business model is to get royalties from handset manufacturers who are already using our tactile feedback technology.
  • This free library contains 124 pre-designed tactile effects broken into many categories, from UI button effects to gaming weapon and explosions effect to even the most subtle tactile texture effects.To support our library of tactile effects, we create a free effect preview application for designers to use. This application also designers to sample and plan which tactile effects they want to use before programming or compiling the effects into their apps. This saves a lot of time in the design process, so much so that tactile effects selection and implementation takes minutes instead of hours.
  • And you can find this preview app on Google Play
  • While Immersion is making tactile effect design easy on the Android, you might like to know some of the Immersion benefits beyond the 124 pre-designed tactile effects library.A standard Google vibrate command uses 100% voltage to the motor, but Immersion’s library use many different, lesser voltage magnitudes to deliver tactile effects. For example, tactile effect power consumption on a Samsung Galaxy class phone or tablet is essentially insignificant consuming only about 1% of the overall device power. 99% of power consumption on the Galaxy devices comes from the processor, display, sensors and communication components.And because the Immersion tactile effects have basically a tactile “volume” control, the effects can be very subtle which is ideal for longer duration effects so you do not annoy the user with strong buzzing. For example, in a drawing application you could add a very subtle virtual texture when drawing on a mobile screen to simulate a paper or canvas surface.And from a designer’s perspective, what is most important is keeping the feeling of your tactile design consistent from user-to-user. This is typically tough with so many different mobile devices on the market. But Immersion has thought about this problem too and worked to solve it for you.
  • These are typical vibration actuators, cheapest to best, going diagonally across the picture from top left.There have been 3 distinct generations of actuators, with different characteristics of cost, size, power use, and performance.The current gold standard is the piezo actuator, which is not a motor at all, but a slim crystalline element.Because Immersion works with mobile manufacturers at the hardware prototyping level, we know all the motor types on the market. And we know the differences between the performance of these motors so we can compensate for those differences in our tactile effect library so you don’t have to. You can design your tactile effects into your app once and be confident that it will feel as consistent as possible across all Android devices.
  • If you want to try your first Android project with tactile effects using the free Immersion library of 124 pre-made tactile effects, we also offer a Quick Start Guide, sample code and plugins for environments like Unity3D to quickly get you started.
  • Enhancing the User Experience Through the Sense of Touch with Bob Heubel

    1. 1. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialNASDAQ: IMMRBob HeubelDeveloper Evangelists, HapticsApril 2013Enhancing the user experiencethrough the sense of touch
    2. 2. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential 2Agenda – We will answer these questions: Who is Immersion? What does touch feedback or tactile design mean? Why is touch feedback essential to the mobile UI? How can touch feedback be applied to better the UX? What are the best design practices for tactile feedback? What are touch feedback methods across platforms? Why concentrate on the Android vibration method? What is the extended vibration method for Android?
    3. 3. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialWho is Immersion? Company HighlightsImmersion: The Haptics CompanyWorldwide SupportOffices inEU, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, US & CanadaWorld Class Customer BaseSamsung, Nokia, LG, Toshiba, Fujitsu,Sony, Microsoft, Logitech, Lexus,BMW, CAE and many moreEstablished in Large, RapidlyGrowing MarketsTechnology shipped in over 1B devices Mobile phones, game controllers, auto,industrial, casino, other portable devicesStrong IntellectualPropertyPortfolio of 1,300+ granted andpending patents specifically in thefield of Haptics related to bothhardware and softwareTechnology LeaderDeveloping tactile touchsolutions also known as“Haptics” since 1993NASDAQ: IMMR
    4. 4. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential4
    5. 5. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential5Say hello to HomunculusTheMobileUser
    6. 6. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential© 2011 Immersion Corporatio
    7. 7. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential7•get a grip•how does that grab you?•ifeeledgy•standing on pins and needles•s t r e t c h the imaginationa gripping experience•only scratched the surface•keep in touch•a touching experience •i’m deeply touched•itching to go•can you handle it?•put on the finishing touches•he’s tactful•she’s tactless•hold your own•be on your toes•makes my skin crawl•solid reputation•a slimy character•like a kick in the teeth•make contact with•don’t be pushy•a mere slap on the wrist•like a slap in the face•a hands-off policy•a clinging personality•a palpable lie•she’s touchy•touch and go•the personal touch•walking on egg shells•grasp an idea•he rubs me the wrong way•a rough characterintimateimmediateemotional
    8. 8. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential© 2011 Immersion CorporatioAgency TBWANebokoPhoto: Michael HarveyCBS NewsPhoto: Walter GeisPoint 2: Touch feedback fulfill a need for tactilegratification that is sorely missed in media.
    9. 9. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialSocial Isolation9
    10. 10. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential© 2011 Immersion CorporatioPUSH THE BUTTON
    11. 11. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential© 2011 Immersion Corporatio
    12. 12. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential© 2011 Immersion CorporatioThe best communication is often emotive
    13. 13. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialCore tactile feedback design principles Simple sensations are often the most effective Sensations that fit with visual & audio elements makethe whole greater than the sum of its parts It is bad to annoy, confuse or overwhelm the user It is good to give the user optionsAlways “play” test your tactile effects to ensure that youare meeting these core principles.13
    14. 14. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialDesign goals when using tactile feedback Make mobile devices feel more usable Make apps feel more satisfying Make communication with friends and family feelmore personal14
    15. 15. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialLessons learned from console gamesAll major gaming consoles use tactile effects to helpimmerse gamers in their virtual worlds.15X-BoxHaloPlayStation - Gran TurismoNintendo WiiLegend of Zelda
    16. 16. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential16Shared tactile game experience example
    17. 17. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialTactile video example – feel video content17Feel theperson onthe otherside of thevideo
    18. 18. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential18Two-way interactive touch example
    19. 19. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialTactile feedback effects beyond gamesFeedback in games is natural like X-Box or PS3 rumble, butconsider other possible uses like… Screen gestures – swipes, slides, pinches, twists Social networking – virtual poking, winking, smiling, kissing Children’s learning – touch confirmations & answer rewards Interactive 2-way videos – shared screen virtual touching Customizable alerts – alert patterns for caller & messaging IDs that canbe created by the user and stored as vibe IDs for any mobile contacts eReaders – feeling page turning, writing notes Apps for the sight impaired – Haptic navi-cues, Braille input, Braillewatch Sports / Health Apps – Alerts based on health monitoring or pacing19
    20. 20. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential20Tactile feedback clock for everyoneTactile ClockAllows you to feelthe time.Good for both blindand sighted users.
    21. 21. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialTop 5 reasons to use tactile feedback effects#5 Increased sense of realism“Feels like the real world”#4 Increased immersion combining audio/visual/touch“Sum is greater than individual parts”#3 Greater user satisfaction“Proven in game platforms”#2 Increased stickiness“Greater emotional connection to game play and UI”And the #1 reason to use tactile effects…#1 The potential for increased revenue“Differentiating your app”21
    22. 22. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialHow to program tactile effects intomobile apps22
    23. 23. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialTactile effect design by operating systemNearly all operating systems allow you program vibration eventsinto your applications. But not all methods are created equal.iOS – Only allows you to call a vibration constant that triggers the motor for aset duration. This is not good for most games.Android – Allows you to call a Vibrator Class and set on/off duration times.Also offers an extended method through Immersion API.Blackberry 10 – Allows you the same control as Android but uses aVibrationController Class. Also has a Intensity parameterWindows 8 – Allows you basically the same control as Android & Blackberrybut uses a VibrateController Class.Bada – Allows you start/stop a Vibrator Class for duration but also hasmethods for controlling intensity and repeat parameters.Additionally, Bada offers an extended method through Immersion APISymbian – For Javascript you use start/stop methods with their Vibra Classthat allows you to set duration and intensity parameters. For Qt on theirS60 API you use a wrapper class called HapticFeedback. ThisAdditionally, the HapticFeedback Class can be extended method throughthe Immersion API23
    24. 24. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialTactile effect design in AndroidThere are over 600 Android device manufacturers withover 7000 models of handsets and tablets.To promote this opportunity, Immersion created afree pre-designed library of tactile effects fordevelopers to quickly add touch effects into theirapps and games.We call this the…“Immersion Haptic Development Platform for Android”24
    25. 25. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialHaptic Effect Preview App 124 pre-designed tactileeffects Free app on Google Play Feel each tactile effecton any Android devicebefore programming Code sample providedfor each effect25
    26. 26. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialHaptic Effect Preview App on Google Play26
    27. 27. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialBenefits of the Immersion method for AndroidGoogle Vibrate Immersion Extended MethodInferior battery usage: only controlsthe duration of vibrationVery efficient use of battery:control over duration, magnitude andfrequency of vibration1 basic effect – full magnitudew/durations set manuallyLibrary of 124 pre-made gaming anduser interface effectsIneffective for longer durationgame effects, only gives you buzzIdeal for longerduration subtle game effectsUnreliable feel across Androiddevices due to different motor typesMost consistent feel acrossALL Android devices27
    28. 28. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential 28A word about actuatorsThe real beauty of the Immersion HapticSDK for tactile feedback effects
    29. 29. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential“Consistent feel across ALL Android devices”Why is this important?Because there are over 600 Android device makers andover 7000 models of handsets and tablets that alluse different vibration actuators like these:29• 3 Distinct Generations:• Eccentric Rotating Mass• Linear Resonant Actuator• Piezo Electric
    30. 30. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialHaptic SDK Quick Start Guide30
    31. 31. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialDownloading the Immersion tactile platformImmersion Haptic SDK Tools for Android:www.immersion.com/haptic/sdk Download the Haptic SDK (450KB) Download the Haptic Studio(only for advanced custom effect design)Haptic Effects Quick Start Guide:www.immersion.com/haptic/guideImmersion Haptic Effect Preview App Download FREE from Google PlayFor more additional Haptic Effects Resources:www.immersion.com/developers/31
    32. 32. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–ConfidentialContact Us HapticsDev@immersion.comLike Us http://www.facebook.com/ImmersionDeveloperFollow Us @HapticsDevRead Our Blog http://blog.immersion.comDirect Access:32Bob HeubelRHEUBEL@IMMERSION.COMPeter van der LindenPLINDEN@IMMERSION.COM
    33. 33. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential33Thank you!
    34. 34. ©2012 Immersion Corporation–Confidential34Two-way interactive tactile feedback