Tog on the iPhone keyboard

2 Jul 2007 - 1:33am
7 years ago
8 replies
733 reads
Will Parker
2007

Comments on the iPhone touch-type from Tog's new iPhone article
( http://www.asktog.com/columns/072iPhoneFirstTouch.html )
Tog:

> An inherent problem with all finger-touch systems is that the
> finger, by definition, must obscure the object being touched
> (unless one has a giant screen with giant buttons). Apple has
> actually come up with a clever way to display the button anyway: As
> the user presses down on the "D" key, for example, a bigger image
> of the "D" key in a dialog balloon, as in a comic, appears just
> above the finger.
>
> Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the balloon can only be made
> to display once the user had committed to the letter, thus acting
> to announce errors, rather than prevent them.
>
Excellent point, and he follows up with useful suggestions.

> The iPhone needs a two-level touch-sensing system. That would allow
> the user to press lightly on the keyboard to cause the dialog
> balloons to appear, then press harder as they confirm that the
> correct letter is displayed. Such direct feedback would accelerate
> the learning curve for the young while giving older people with
> large fingers—or arthritic fingers—an alternative to the
> frustration of high continuing error rates.
>
As I've mentioned on this list, looking for a two-plateau area-
coverage profile as the user goes from 'touch' to 'press' should be
easy enough to do. The question would be whether it's possible to
create a generic profile; if not, you'd have to have the touch device
and the user learn each others' styles over time.
> Force Feedback
>
> Another major win for the iPhone would be force-feedback, so users
> could "feel" the key has been pressed. For a long time, lack of
> such feedback was something taken for granted with touch screens,
> but no longer. It turns out that if you move the entire device up
> and down rapidly when the user has achieve sufficient contact,
> hammering the device against the finger, the user's brain
> interprets that movement as a physical click. It also turns out
> that cell phones all already have a device to move the phone around—
> the vibrator used as a ringer alternative.
>
Another vote for haptic feedback. I will take that as vindication.

> Of course, most cellphone vibrators move the phone in two
> dimensions, since they consist of motors with offset weights, but
> Immersion Corporation's VibeTonz technology replaces the rotary
> vibrator with one that goes strictly up and down. When that
> vibrator is triggered by a completed virtual keypress, the user is
> given just enough of a nudge to indicate to the brain that the
> keypress was successful.
>
See also the research on modeling the haptic illusion of different
shapes and types of surfaces using different vibration profiles.

- Will

Will Parker
wparker at ChannelingDesign.com

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If
that were the case, then Microsoft would have great products.” -
Steve Jobs

Comments

2 Jul 2007 - 3:24am
Håkan Reis
2006

Without knowing anything regarding vibration and the research around this I
have thought along these lines. Wanting to teste it but without the proper
equipment. I would say that the tactical feedback is one ov the most
important functions for the success/fail of touch screens.

I could see, as more flexible LCD/OLED/etc types emerge, that a matrix of
vibrators could focus and give even more accurate sensation of pressing real
keys. It would make it possible to feel around the screen and find the right
key in the same way you don't have to look at your fingesr when you find the
menu button on you phone.

"See also the research on modeling the haptic illusion of different shapes
and types of surfaces using different vibration profiles." <-- There is the
key in my oppinion.

Looking forward to iPhone G4.../ Håkan reis

--
Håkan Reis
http://blog.reis.se

Dotway AB
http://dotway.se
http://oredev.org

2 Jul 2007 - 3:26am
Petteri Hiisilä
2004

>> the user is
>> given just enough of a nudge to indicate to the brain that the
>> keypress was successful.

I hope we see these in action. Have they tried tiny electric shocks
that would transmit themselves through the touch screen? :---)

>>
> See also the research on modeling the haptic illusion of different
> shapes and types of surfaces using different vibration profiles.

The Mighty Mouse has a tracking ball that doesn't really have haptic
feedback. But there's a clicking speaker inside the mouse that
creates an _illusion_ that the ball had some mechanics that respond
in a more physical way. This sound is absent when the mouse is
disconnected.

The sound-based illusion of haptic feedback is surprisingly real. It
actually feels like the ball had some kind of mechanic clicker behind
it when I roll it. But since it's not mechanic, the tiny ball moves
absolutely smoothly. Except when it gets dirty, which it sometimes
does, unfortunately.

The squeeze-action side buttons work the same way. But there the
illusion doesn't work quite as well as with the ball.

Best,
Petteri

--
Petteri Hiisilä
Senior Interaction Designer
iXDesign / +358505050123 /
petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi

"Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated."
- Tim Peters

2 Jul 2007 - 8:00am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jul 2, 2007, at 2:33 AM, Will Parker wrote that Tog wrote:

>> The iPhone needs a two-level touch-sensing system. That would
>> allow the user to press lightly on the keyboard to cause the
>> dialog balloons to appear, then press harder as they confirm that
>> the correct letter is displayed.

Except that it already does this. When your finger is on the touch
screen, if you move over the letters, they balloon up.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

2 Jul 2007 - 8:35am
.pauric
2006

Petteri "The Mighty Mouse has a tracking ball that doesn't really
have haptic feedback. But there's a clicking speaker inside the
mouse that creates an illusion that the ball had some mechanics"

Wow!! I had no idea that was a speaker. That works insanely well.

To clean your mighty mouse ball, put a few drops of
de-natured/rubbing alcohol on to the ball and move it around while
pressing down firmly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17839

2 Jul 2007 - 9:35am
Manu Sharma
2003

On hovering over iPhone keypad, Tog wrote:

>>> The iPhone needs a two-level touch-sensing system. That would
>>> allow the user to press lightly on the keyboard to cause the
>>> dialog balloons to appear, then press harder as they confirm
>>> that the correct letter is displayed.

Todd Zaki Warfel responded:

> Except that it already does this. When your finger is on the touch
> screen, if you move over the letters, they balloon up.

That's correct you can indeed hover over various keys. Just slide
over the keypad without releasing the finger until you find the key
you're looking for. Gizmodo's Brian Lam demonstrates this neat trick
in this video http://tinyurl.com/2eqmuc and says it bumps up the
accuracy up to 99%.

Manu
New Delhi, India
http://orangehues.com/blog/

2 Jul 2007 - 9:40am
Todd Warfel
2003

Yeah, it's definitely improved my soft typing speeds on this thing.
I'm way faster on the iPhone than my Samsung.

On Jul 2, 2007, at 10:35 AM, Manu Sharma wrote:

> That's correct you can indeed hover over various keys. Just slide
> over the keypad without releasing the finger until you find the key
> you're looking for. Gizmodo's Brian Lam demonstrates this neat trick
> in this video http://tinyurl.com/2eqmuc and says it bumps up the
> accuracy up to 99%.
>
> Manu
> New Delhi, India
> http://orangehues.com/blog/

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

2 Jul 2007 - 11:00am
Will Parker
2007

On Jul 2, 2007, at 7:35 AM, Manu Sharma wrote:

> On hovering over iPhone keypad, Tog wrote:
>
>>>> The iPhone needs a two-level touch-sensing system. That would
>>>> allow the user to press lightly on the keyboard to cause the
>>>> dialog balloons to appear, then press harder as they confirm
>>>> that the correct letter is displayed.
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel responded:
>
>> Except that it already does this. When your finger is on the touch
>> screen, if you move over the letters, they balloon up.
>
> That's correct you can indeed hover over various keys. Just slide
> over the keypad without releasing the finger until you find the key
> you're looking for. Gizmodo's Brian Lam demonstrates this neat trick
> in this video http://tinyurl.com/2eqmuc and says it bumps up the
> accuracy up to 99%.

Manu:

That's great news -- thanks for passing it along! Now let's hope that
Apple gets busy popularizing the trick. However, I have no doubt that
Andy Ihnatko will fill in any lapses on the part of Apple's
documentation department.

BTW, please note that this is _not_ an example of differentiating
between a light press and a heavier touch based on capacitance
changes or coverage area, both of which deserve further research. I
look forward to seeing that research coming from those of you who
have research budgets. };->

On the other hand, this also shoots a hole in Tog's assumption that
the appearance of the key popup indicates acceptance of the keypress.
He's thinking it's 'key-press accepted on key-down', when it's
actually on key-up.

- Will

Will Parker
wparker at ChannelingDesign.com

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If
that were the case, then Microsoft would have great products.” -
Steve Jobs

2 Jul 2007 - 11:14am
Robert Reimann
2003

Such haptic touchpanels already exist. It turns out you don't need a
grid of vibrators, since you can allow different vibration profiles
based dynamically on what part of the screen has active controls on
it, and the illusion works fine with only one dynamically changing
vibration source (note that this probably wouldn't work well on a
multitouch panel).

Robert.

On 7/2/07, Håkan Reis <hakan.reis at dotway.se> wrote:
> I could see, as more flexible LCD/OLED/etc types emerge, that a matrix of
> vibrators could focus and give even more accurate sensation of pressing real
> keys. It would make it possible to feel around the screen and find the right
> key in the same way you don't have to look at your fingesr when you find the
> menu button on you phone.
>
> "See also the research on modeling the haptic illusion of different shapes
> and types of surfaces using different vibration profiles." <-- There is the
> key in my oppinion.
>
> Looking forward to iPhone G4.../ Håkan reis
>
> --
> Håkan Reis
> http://blog.reis.se
>
> Dotway AB
> http://dotway.se
> http://oredev.org
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--
Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

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