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Response to [Sensing Techniques for Mobile Interaction] by Hinckley et al.

One Sentence

This paper presents the design of interaction techniques integrated in a mobile device as well as the implementations of these techniques by sensors.

(“We describe sensing techniques motivated by unique aspects of human-computer interaction with handheld devices in mobile settings.”)

More Sentences

The paper mainly considers three set of sensors: proximity range, capacitive touch, and tilt.

The paper demonstrates sensor-enhanced mobile interaction techniques in four scenarios (voice memo detection, portrait/landscape display mode detection, tilt scrolling & portrait/landscape modes, and power management) where they focus on the usability aspect – whether the designed technique is beneficial, and how to address the issues that arise from the design.

Key Points



  • … and demonstrate several new functionalities engendered by the sensors, …
  • … the tokens that form the building blocks of the interaction design …
  • … convert the raw data into logical form …
  • By implementing specific examples, we explore some new points in the design space, uncover many design and implementation issues, and reveal some preliminary user reactions as well as specific usability problems.
  • … resulting in a combination of a general-purpose device with many capabilities, and an appliance-like device with a specific use.
  • … by naturally phrasing the task into a single cognitive chunk.


  • There are two mental models about device tilting/changing orientations: 1) the device is a static ‘painting’ whereby the user has to rotate it towards the ideal viewing orientation; 2) the device has flowing contents whereby the user does not have to worry about how to hold the device;
  • The tone of this paper – very exploratory and critical. For their own proposed techniques, they did not campaign for them, but instead, try to break themselves all the way until there is no more possible improvement.

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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