The impact of haptic devices on designers and the design process

  • YEAR
    Sherratt, Sue
    Gu, Ning
    Jones, Wyn
    2011 Conference Papers
    Computer Science


The recent advent of haptic devices (one of the tangible user interface technologies for
design) offers designers a new and more intuitive way to interact with their digital design
representations using sensory feedback. However, there is limited empirical evidence about the
impact of these new devices on the effectiveness and creativity of design. This project aimed to
explore the impact of haptic devices on two designers and the design process, and to compare the
changes in behaviours and outcomes when designers move from traditional design environments to a
haptic device setting. Using protocol analysis, the designers were videorecorded performing similar
design tasks in four design environments: Clay modelling; CAD; a haptic interface, and both sketching
and haptic. A unique coding system (capturing physical, perceptual, functional and conceptual
cognitive design levels) indicated the most frequently demonstrated action categories were Physical
and Perceptual. No substantial differences were observed between the actions of each designer in
each design environment (intra-and inter-participant), showing that haptic devices as new design
interfaces support the four types of design actions. This preliminary study provides valuable directions
for future research into these devices and their effects on the design process and on types of design.


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