Using Touch to Drive Engagement

A new dimension of user-centered design.

What's to account for the resurging interest in post-digital, analog experiences, from vinyl to typewriters? With the advent of digital, 90% of all media interactions are screen-based, and until now, much of this emotional connection, commonly derived from tactile experience, has been lost to the swiping motion. According to one SXSW session, the sense of touch drives much of the emotional and decision making processes in our brains.

To combat this adverse reaction, panelist David Birnbaum, Senior UX Design Manager, Immersion Corporation, advocates for change at the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) points in development cycles. Throughout the session, Birnbaum challenged programmers, designers and technologists to fundamentally modify their approach in order to better connect with the end user.

Best Practices for UI/UX Designers:

1.  Understand the design space.
It's a small screen, try to stay true to the intent of the creative.

2.  Follow the action.
Content is full of motion and action. You don't need virtual reality to emulate the sensation of being part of the action.

3.  Create an illusion. 
Through sound and haptic technology you can make any experience utterly convincing.

4.  Build real connections. 
Stay in the simplicity of the emotion the person needs to experience, for example, the opening of a soda can – complete with the click and feeling of being in control of the experience. With more and more content consumed on mobile, it is critical that brands consider ways to pair the interconnectivity between touch, emotional connections and the content provided to consumers with the physical experiences they crave.