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Enabling Mobile Microinteractions | PDF

What if you could interact with your devices in under four seconds? My Ph.D. thesis work explored gestures, smart watches and other ways to enable super-fast interactions.

Daniel Ashbrook. Ph.D. dissertation, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009.

Abstract: While much attention has been paid to the usability of desktop computers, mobile computers are quickly becoming the dominant platform. Because mobile computers may be used in nearly any situation—including while the user is actually in motion, or performing other tasks—interfaces designed for stationary use may be inappropriate, and alternative interfaces should be considered.

In this dissertation I consider the idea of microinteractions—interactions with a device that take less than four seconds to initiate and complete. Microinteractions are desirable because they may minimize interruption; that is, they allow for a tiny burst of interaction with a device so that the user can quickly return to the task at hand.

My research concentrates on methods for applying microinteractions through wrist-based interaction. I consider two modalities for this interaction: touchscreens and motion-based gestures. In the case of touchscreens, I consider the interface implications of making touchscreen watches usable with the finger, instead of the usual stylus, and investigate users’ performance with a round touchscreen. For gesture-based interaction, I present a tool, MAGIC, for designing gesture-based interactive system, and detail the evaluation of the tool.