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Touchable objects: attributes applied to the design of computer input devices

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Among many important attributes, designers often seek to create products that are comfortable both in the sense of avoiding discomfort and providing a positive sense of comfort. Another way of looking at the design of hand-held products is to consider what attributes make a product enjoyable to touch, rather than just comfortable or uncomfortable. A series of focus discussions investigated the qualities of objects that are enjoyable to touch. Persons were asked to bring in one or two objects that said to them, 'Touch me' and 'Keep touching me'. Discussion with the participants discerned their motivations for selecting the touchable objects. Observations noted the objects' sizes, weights, shapes, surfaces, and colours. This research about qualities of touchable objects influenced the designs of new designs of trackballs for computer navigation. Further hypothesis supposes that the attributes of touchable objects are based on human experience over time with nature.
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Keywords: Biophilia; Comfort; Computer Input Device; Mouse; Nature; Touch; Trackball

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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