An analysis of input-output relations in interaction with smart tangible objects

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Journal Article
ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, 2013, 3 (2)
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This article focuses on the conceptual relation between the user's input and a system's output in interaction with smart tangible objects. Understanding this input-output relation (IO relation) is a prerequisite for the design of meaningful interaction. A meaningful IO relation allows the user to know what to do with a system to achieve a certain goal and to evaluate the outcome. The work discussed in this article followed a design research process in which four concepts were developed and prototyped. An evaluation was performed using these prototypes to investigate the effect of highly different IO relations on the user's understanding of the interaction. The evaluation revealed two types of IO relations differing in functionality and the number of mappings between the user and system actions. These two types of relations are described by two IO models that provide an overview of these mappings. Furthermore, they illustrate the role of the user and the influence of the system in the process of understanding the interaction. The analysis of the two types of IO models illustrates the value of understanding IO relations for the design of smart tangible objects. © 2013 ACM.
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