Understanding the Touch Experience

A hand holding a smartphone

Touch devices and input are becoming more and more common. Because of their prevalence, the performance differences between mouse and touch have been studies in terms of speed and accuracy. However, a less detailed look has gone into the meaning and value of an interaction. For example, consider the implications for designers of interactive surface applications:

  • if using touch input improved a user’s perceived competence with a command and control system
  • if using a tangible interface gave users a heightened sense of control and volition in undertaking the design work of a tabletop layout task
  • or if using a mouse opened teams up to hearing alternate views from colleagues in a collaborative analytics task

Not only would the experience of using surface applications be improved in these scenarios, but the enriched experience could also result in enhanced productivity through better solutions that are achieved more rapidly.

In this work, we present a methodology for applying techniques used on hedonically inspired systems, such as games, to determine the difference in perceived competence, autonomy/control, or relatedness to other people.  By having users undertake a game-based task while using mouse and touch, we show that touch outperforms mouse for a variety of measures, without a loss in performance metrics.