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Haptic vs Non-Haptic

I had a big issue with the film The World Is Not Enough. In one of the final fight scenes, Bond fights with the villain who’s trying to cause a meltdown on a Russian submarine. Apparently, this villain can’t feel, making him immune to the pain of Bond’s punches and kicks but apparently, he can still easily feel that he’s gripping weapons or landing punches. Apparently not feeling also gives you amazing strength. Ugh.

I was thinking about this on interacting with haptic surfaces. Awhile back, the haptic engine on my Macbook stopped working. It’s been frustrating to not be able to click or force click without needing visual feedback of the interaction. Touch feedback provides a low cognitive load so it’s easier to stay on task when you get this feedback.

When it comes to building voice interactions, there’s a place for haptics. The volume knob on the Echo has a certain feel, as do the springiness of the buttons. In fact, it would be great if the different Echo products had a different feedback for the command / cancel button vs the volume buttons. Except for a little vibration from the speaker, the Google Home has almost no feedback. While it has a cool design, it means needing to verify the volume setting.

I’m hopeful that the next generation of voice products will design touch interrupts with more feedback.

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