Haptic augmentation of the cursor : transforming virtual actions into physical actions
This thesis demonstrates, through the exploration of two very different examples, the general claim that haptic feedback relating to a user's representation in a computer system (typically a cursor) can lead to increases in objective performance and subjective experience. Design guidelines covering each of these two topics are also presented, to ensure that the research described here can be readily adopted by other researchers, designers and system developers. The first topic to be investigated was desktop user interfaces. This thesis describes the design of a variety of different forms of haptic feedback for use with number of different Graphical User Interface (GUI) widgets, or widget groups. Two empirical evaluations of these designs are also described in some depth. The results of these studies indicate that although haptic feedback can provide improvements in objective performance, it can also reduce performance and increase subjective workload if inappropriately applied. From these results, and from the previous literature, detailed guidelines were drawn up covering the addition of haptic feedback to GUIs. The goal of these guidelines is to support the creation of performance-enhancing haptic feedback. The second topic examined was communication in interactive collaborative systems. The design of a suite of haptic communication is presented in detail, before two studies investigating different aspects of its use. The first study focuses on the subjective influence of the haptic communication as a whole, while the second is a more thorough look at one particular form of the feedback and includes objective measurements. The combined results of these studies indicate that haptic feedback has a valuable potential for increasing the quality of a user's subjective experience. Observations from these studies also reveal insights into the role of haptic feedback in communication. A set of guidelines summing up this research and the previous literature relevant to this topic are then presented. As research on this domain is in its infancy, the goal of these guidelines is to concisely present the main issues and potential benefits that respectively restrict and drive this work.