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An empirical characterization of touch-gesture input force on mobile devices

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Abstract

Designers of force-sensitive user interfaces lack a ground-truth characterization of input force while performing common touch gestures (zooming, panning, tapping, and rotating). This paper provides such a characterization firstly by deriving baseline force profiles in a tightly-controlled user study; then by examining how these profiles vary in different conditions such as form factor (mobile phone and tablet), interaction position (walking and sitting) and urgency (timed tasks and untimed tasks). We conducted two user studies with 14 and 24 participants respectively and report: (1) force profile graphs that depict the force variations of common touch gestures, (2) the effect of the different conditions on force exerted and gesture completion time, (3) the most common forces that users apply, and the time taken to complete the gestures. This characterization is intended to aid the design of interactive devices that integrate force-input with common touch gestures in different conditions.