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Frontiers in Robotics and AI '19

KnobSlider: Design of a Shape-Changing Parameter Control UI and Study of User Preferences on Its Speed and Tangibility

Hyunyoung Kim, Céline Coutrix, Anne Roudaut

Frontiers in Robotics and AI [link]


The preferred speed of shape-change can be different depending on the media that users observe the shape-change. In this journal article, we showed the shape-change of the same device at different speeds in the real world and on a screen. The results show that the participants preferred slower shape-change in the real world compared to on screen.

Professionals such as sound engineers or aircraft pilots heavily use physical knobs and sliders on their interfaces. The interfaces have advantages over touchscreen interfaces, especially when the users need to quickly and eyes-freely respond to changing situations such as when musicians are improvising, or there is smoke in a cockpit. However, unlike touchscreen interfaces, the physical interfaces are often bulky and crowded and lack of adaptability to user preferences or small spaces. To have advantages from both physical and touchscreen control interfaces, we explore design space of control interfaces and suggest design guidelines in the following steps. We first conduct a formative study with eight professionals who use knobs and sliders. Based on their feedback, we propose design requirements for future parameter control interfaces. We then introduce the design of the KnobSlider, a shape-changing device that combines the advantages of a physical knob and a slider in a time- and space-multiplexing way. To increase users' acceptance on shape-changing control interfaces, we investigate subjective preference on speed of shape-changes by using pairwise comparison with different maximum speeds. We also investigate how tangibility—showing KnobSlider on a video or showing it in the physical world—affects users preference and suggest speed design guidelines for future studies.

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