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Revision as of 11:19, 20 December 2007 by Risalmin (Talk | contribs)

Tactile feedback

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Tactile feedback refers to intentionally produced feedback that is perceived as movement. In most cases this movement is perceived with the touch sense on the skin. Another widely used term is Haptic technology[1].

Where is it used

To assist other senses

There are several possibilities for providign tactile feedback. One interesting example is the use of a Braille output device, that traces text as embossed groups of dots that can be read using the tips of your fingers. There are some quite innovative applications[2] of this in the market. They are, of course aimed at people with sight problems, but could be used by anyone.

In games

One very common way is to use vibration to give the user feedback in a game or other application to enhance the user experience. For example, when you shoot in a game, your game controller jerks or vibrates suddenly to give the impression of recoil. Or in a racing game the steering wheel or game controller vibrates when you go off road to simulate a bumpy ride.

Silent alarm

In mobile devices it usual, that you can set a silent mode, where the device does not emmit a sound, but uses rythmic vibration to tell the user needs to take an action. Usually an alarm or an incoming message or phone call.

How does it work

The Braille pad example above uses retractable pins to create the Braille patterns.

Most of the Nokia mobile devices have a small eccentric rotator that creates vibration when turning at high speeds.

There are several examples around the web on how to use the vibration functionality, please use a search engine to find them out. On Forum Nokia Wiki there are articles for Using Vibration to give user feedback in Flash Lite and Vibration Control API.

Please see the referenced articles for more information.

Code examples

Flash Lite ActionScript

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Symbian C++

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Why is it used

Practical reasons

Tactile feedback is good for those times when auditive of visual feedback is unavailable or cannot be used for some other reason. The user might be visually impaired or have problems in hearing, either permanently like bad lighting or heavy background noise or permnanently like in cases of blindness or deafness. In theses cases tactile feedback is the best option for practical applications.

Enhanced user experience

Since most people live in a world of sound, light and touch, using tactile feedback in games and other applications gives a highly elevated experience and creates a wow effect for the user. Furthemore, in some cases, like the touch screen it is possible that tapping on a button does not immediately result in the UI, so it is a good idea to give the user some feedback trough vibration so they know the tap was registered.

Please give feedback

Please use the Comment tab to give feedback to the author and ask for more focusing certain aspects of the tactile feedback issue.

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