Do-it-yourself gestures could be the key to future computer interfaces


( —A team of human-computer interaction experts from the University of St Andrews have found that natural gesture-based user interfaces (used to control TVs, computers and game consoles like the Wii and Xbox 360) just need the personal touch to make them more effective.

A key question for natural user interfaces is whether people will be able to remember the many gestures recognized by devices.

The St Andrews team found that users could remember 44% more gestures when they designed them themselves, compared to gestures pre-programmed by professionals.

The researchers conducted three controlled experiments testing people’s ability to remember gestures and analyzed the type of errors they made. By controlling the learning time, users remembered gestures they had created themselves significantly better.

Until now, designers and researchers of gesture interfaces have focused on designing a set of gestures that would work for everyone. The new results of the experiment challenge this approach.

Designing custom gestures was also seen as more creative and fun. Moreover, they could then reflect the cultural background of the user. In contrast, pre-programmed gestures may mean one thing in one culture but have no meaning in another.

Dr Miguel Nacenta, a lecturer in the University’s School of Computing, said: “Our work could make the difference between this technology becoming commonplace or failing to capture the market.

Personal touch is key to gesture control software: Do-it-yourself gestures may be key to future computer interfaces

“If the gesture-based interface is clunky and frustrating, consumers won’t want to give up their remotes for it.”

Natural gesture-based user interfaces are becoming increasingly popular, and products pushing these technologies include Samsung Smart TVs, Microsoft’s Kinect, and LEAP Motion.

However, a disadvantage is the difficulty for users to learn and memorize pre-programmed gesture patterns.

Current gesture-based interfaces, like those in Samsung SmartTVs, are based on how designers view interaction. Research from the University of St Andrews suggests that involving users in gesture design is a promising approach.

The researchers will present their work at CHI 2013 (the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) in Paris on April 30. CHI is the premier forum for outstanding human-computer interaction research.

Robotics: Gestures for control

More information:
“Memorability of pre-designed and user-defined gesture sets” (2013) Miguel A. Nacenta, Yemliha Kamber, Yizhou Qiang and Per Ola Kristensson. Full article in Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in CHI Computing Systems ’13 (10 pages – forthcoming).

Provided by the University of St Andrews

Quote: Personal touch is key to gesture control software: Design gestures may be key to future computer interfaces (April 29, 2013) retrieved January 22, 2022 from personal-key-gesture-software-design-it-yourself.html

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