Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A thought on multi touch gestures

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As everybody knows, two representative multi-touch gestures are multi touch pinching and rotation. I'd like to ask you a seemingly simple question. What do you think the difference between those two?

Answer 1: the first is for changing the size of a digital object while the latter indicates to rotate it. And that's all.

However, when you think a little bit deeper, there is another difference between them from the perspective of interaction.

When you apply the pinch gesture to a real photo, nothing happens. The photo just remains there without any physical changes. However, you can physically rotate a real object by applying a rotation gesture.

Answer 2: The pinch gesture is a metaphored interaction, while the rotation gestures is the exact simulation of the real world.

PS 1: So, we have two types of (multi touch) gesures: type I and type II. Type I gestures are truly natural that reflect physics in our real world. Typical examples include rotation and panning. Type II, on the contrary, need some active interpretation by the object of the interaction. The pinch gesutre on the touch screen and waving someone to come closer in the real world might be categorized into type II.

PS2: Thanks JoshB  for a helpful comment.


JoshB said...

Good observation. The pinch gesture (with respect to zooming a picture) illustrates the super-real aspect of Natural User Interfaces. Another example is panning a list of pictures.

Touch User Interface said...

I slightly modified the article to reflect your comment. Thanks.

Lynn Marentette said...

The gesture interaction needs to support the purpose behind the application. Is the application one that is designed for more than one person, each using two hands? Two people, each using one hand? What sort of content will the people be manipulating? Will the users need to navigate to other screens or representations? Food for thought.

Touch User Interface said...

Another point to think about multitouch migh be physics

Physics in touch

Realistic Physics Engine for Multi-Touch

Touch Paper: Extending 2D object arrangement with pressure-sensitive layering cues


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