Tag Archives: research

Springer Series on Touch and Haptic Systems: Musical Haptics

Musical Haptics

I’m pleased to announce that my contribution to the Springer Series on Touch and Haptic Systems: Musical Haptics is now available to download for free here.
The book explores the haptic interactions that occur when we experience or perform music; specifically, the effects of combining both auditory and haptic information during performances with musical instruments. This topic is fascinating to me, as during these types of interaction, both the auditory and haptic senses receive vibrations and this type of multimodal stimulation is experienced and analysed not only by the musician, but also the audience too.
The book represents a penultimate moment in my own research because the fields of human-computer interaction, haptics, and music were all brought together for my PhD thesis. My previous research highlighted that sound, as music, was more than the auditory perception of vibration. I first noticed this phenomenon when I was working as a live sound engineer. During a gig, I often noticed that the audience were not only stimulated by the acoustic sounds produced by the PA, but also by the vibrations they experienced via other modalities; such as through the air and dance floor. Furthermore, during my studies in music technology, I observed that for performing musicians, there also existed a complex relationship between auditory–haptic interactions with acoustic and digital musical instruments (DMIs). To establish what exactly this relationship entailed, I explored multiple methodologies for evaluating DMIs, to discover what happens between musicians and their instruments while playing.
My chapter “A Functional Analysis of Haptic Feedback in Digital Musical Instrument Interactions” presents an experiment that evaluated the functionality, usability, and the musician’s experiences when using a DMI: a DMI that was capable of stimulating the haptic senses in different ways. The experiment revealed that the various types of feedback had no significant functional effect upon device performance in pitch selection tasks, but a number of significant effects were found upon the users’ perception of usability and their experiences with each of the different feedback types.
The book is jam packed with some of the most prolific authors in musical haptic research and I’m not afraid to say, I was a bit intimidated. But, I am now both honoured and proud to be included among them! The collected chapters were expertly edited and arranged by Stefano Papetti (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste) and Charalampos Saitis (Technische Universität Berlin). I look forwards now to exploring these works and incorporating them into my future research adventures. Bravo to all involved 😀


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Games User Research: A Case Study Approach

Are you interested in computer games and learning more about how research is applied in real-world usability testing?

You can now purchase “Games User Research: A Case Study Approach” from CRC Press! Please check out our contribution in Chapter 7 (Usability Testing of Video Game Controllers: A Case Study, G. W. Young, A. Kehoe, and D. Murphy).


This chapter presents an investigation that compares the performance of game controllers in two-dimensional pointing tasks as defined in the international standard that specifies the requirements for non-keyboard input devices, ISO 9241-9. In addition, we discuss the evaluation of usability and user experience with these devices during game-play. We compared performance measurements for controllers while varying the user’s exposure to the different feedback elements contained within each controller device. We assessed the performance of the controllers according to the ISO 9241-9 evaluation recommendations. The devices used in the study included a Logitech mouse and keyboard, a Logitech Bluetooth Touchpad and keyboard, a Sony Playstation DualShock 4 controller, and Valve’s first-generation Steam controller. Besides performance testing, we measured user experiences with the controllers while playing a popular first-person video game. Participants were asked to complete game levels for each type of controller and answer questions outlining their experience.

Here’s a run down of what else to expect in the book…


  • Provides case studies on intermediate to advanced usability testing of video games on various platforms
  • Describes pragmatic techniques, implementation guidelines, and case discussions on how to improve the usability and user experience of video games
  • Focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to usability testing of video games, covering points of view and supporting information from areas such as interaction design, human/computer interaction, cognitive science, and others
  • Shows proven and effective usability methodologies and techniques for evaluating video game interfaces


“Fundamentally, making games is designing with others, everyone contributing from different angles towards the best possible product. Conclusively, Garcia-Ruiz has chosen a collection of chapters that demonstrates several different aspects of working in gaming and working with others that stands to raise the level of expertise in the field.”
—Veronica Zammitto, Senior Lead Games User Research, Electronic Arts, Inc., from the Foreword

Usability is about making a product easy to use while meeting the requirements of target users. Applied to video games, this means making the game accessible and enjoyable to the player. Video games with high usability are generally played efficiently and frequently while enjoying higher sales volumes.

The case studies in this book present the latest interdisciplinary research and applications of games user research in determining and developing usability to improve the video game user experience at the human–computer interface level. Some of the areas examined include practical and ethical concerns in conducting usability testing with children, audio experiences in games, tangible and graphical game interfaces, controller testing, and business models in mobile gaming.

Games User Research: A Case Study Approach provides a highly useful resource for researchers, practitioners, lecturers, and students in developing and applying methods for testing player usability as well as for conducting games user research. It gives the necessary theoretical and practical background for designing and conducting a test for usability with an eye toward modifying software interfaces to improve human–computer interaction between the player and the game.


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