A Vibro-tactile “Friend Sense” for Keeping Groups Together

Being able to sense the location of people can be beneficial if you visit a crowded, noisy, and chaotic place with your friends, such as a festival. Usually, for a good nightly experience, it is important that the group stays together. However, when everyone has different needs at different times (getting food, visiting the lavatory […]

N95 vs iPhone 2G – Usability Matters!

Usability matters! It matters much more than features. A tangible example of this was presented by Scott Jensen at a keynote talk at MobileHCI ’10 in Lisbon, Portugal. He compared the Nokia N95 with the Apple 2G, which were both top-notch devices in 2008. The Nokia N95 was a brilliant piece of technology that contained […]

To blog or not to blog ongoing research?

Research ideas are old when they are finally presented. The time from the submitting a paper to its presentation at a conference can take more than half a year. When submitting a paper the authors have already spent a lot of time working on the idea and writing it down. When the paper is accepted […]

Sensing your Friends’ Locations via the Sense of Touch

Imagine visiting a crowded place with a bunch of friends. Wouldn’t it be great to unobtrusively stay aware of where they are? Thanks to 3G, GPS, and powerful handhelds, today it is perfectly possible to share the location in such a mobile context. A remaining problem is how to present the friends’ locations to the […]

Vibration-enhanced Paper Map Navigation

Maps are one of the oldest known information artifacts. An even in the times of GPS navigation systems, people still use them to find their ways in unknown environments. One of the challenges when navigating by a map is that the map’s abstract content has to be matched to the traveler’s environment. It has for […]

Android User Hate Parade

Stupid! – Garbage – Hate it!!!!!!! … …. these are some of the few comments when publishing apps in the Android Market for free. This can be really frustrating for developers. Here are some of the worst example I have encountered in my life as an Android developer: The “it does not work -> 1 […]

KISSing and Shopping

KISS is a principle stating that the simplest solution for a problem should be preferred. KISS may stand for “keep it simple, stupid”, “keep it short and simple” or other similar variations. The idea is to avoid building unnecessarily complex solutions which are difficult to maintain and use. Lately I was shopping and carrying a […]

Counter-Strike? Research?

Eight people in the twilight, starring at eight screens, hammering their keyboards, wielding their virtual guns … and all for research purposes? Counter-Strike is a well-known team-based first-person shooter game. Since shooting is an essential part of the game play, it has a bad image in the public. Whenever a young gunman runs amok, Counter-Strike […]

Turn-by-Turn Navigation – the Best Way to Guide Pedestrians?

Pedestrian navigation systems increasingly offer turn-by-turn instructions to guide travellers to their destinations. Turn-by-turn instructions, however, render the human’s inherent navigation skills redundant and lead to a worse understanding of the travelled route. Recently, researchers have increasingly studied providing general directional cues only, so travellers only get a sense of the direction, in which the destination lies, but have to find the route by themselves. This new paradigm may help to reengage travellers in a positive way.

How tiny flaws in the user interface can lead to negative user ratings

Usability is important to ensure that your application is successful. In one of our applications we just had to learn that even tiny issues in secondary features can have huge negative effects.

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