Latency guidelines for touchscreen virtual button feedback

Kaaresoja, Topi Johannes (2016) Latency guidelines for touchscreen virtual button feedback. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Touchscreens are very widely used, especially in mobile phones. They feature many interaction methods, pressing a virtual button being one of the most popular ones. In addition to an inherent visual feedback, virtual button can provide audio and tactile feedback. Since mobile phones are essentially computers, the processing causes latencies in interaction. However, it has not been known, if the latency is an issue in mobile touchscreen virtual button interaction, and what the latency recommendations for visual, audio and tactile feedback are.

The research in this thesis has investigated multimodal latency in mobile touchscreen virtual button interaction. For the first time, an affordable, but accurate tool was built to measure all three feedback latencies in touchscreens. For the first time, simultaneity perception of touch and feedback, as well as the effect of latency on virtual button perceived quality has been studied and thresholds found for both unimodal and bimodal feedback. The results from these studies were combined as latency guidelines for the first time. These guidelines enable interaction designers to establish requirements for mobile phone engineers to optimise the latencies on the right level.

The latency measurement tool consisted of a high-speed camera, a microphone and an accelerometer for visual, audio and tactile feedback measurements. It was built with off-the-shelf components and, in addition, it was portable. Therefore, it could be copied at low cost or moved wherever needed. The tool enables touchscreen interaction designers to validate latencies in their experiments, making their results more valuable and accurate. The tool could benefit the touchscreen phone manufacturers, since it enables engineers to validate latencies during development of mobile phones. The tool has been used in mobile phone R&D within Nokia Corporation and for validation of a research device within the University of Glasgow.

The guidelines established for unimodal feedback was as follows: visual feedback latency should be between 30 and 85 ms, audio between 20 and 70 ms and tactile between 5 and 50 ms. The guidelines were found to be different for bimodal feedback: visual feedback latency should be 95 and audio 70 ms when the feedback was visual-audio, visual 100 and tactile 55 ms when the feedback was visual-tactile and tactile 25 and audio 100 ms when the feedback was tactile-audio. These guidelines will help engineers and interaction designers to select and optimise latencies to be low enough, but not too low. Designers using these guidelines will make sure that most of the users will both perceive the feedback as simultaneous with their touch and experience high quality virtual buttons.

The results from this thesis show that latency has a remarkable effect on touchscreen virtual buttons, and it is a key part of virtual button feedback design. The novel results enable researchers, designers and engineers to master the effect of latencies in research and development. This will lead to more accurate and reliable research results and help mobile phone manufacturers make better products.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: touchscreen, virtual button, multimodal feedback, visual feedback, audio feedback, tactile feedback, latency, simultaneity perception, perceived quality, latency guidelines
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Supervisor's Name: Brewster, Professor Stephen
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr Topi Johannes Kaaresoja
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7075
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 11:49
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2016 09:01
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