Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the value of semiotics to inquire tangible user interfaces (TUI) in human- computer interaction (HCI). Drawing on Peirce’s three types of representation – icon, index, and symbol (Peirce, Houser, & Kloesel, 1998) – we analyze signification processes in the design of tangible UIs. As a case study, we draw on several prototypical interfaces and analyze their semiotic structure. We focus specifically on three different significations for a similar application on a mobile phone: Displaying a new event on a mobile phone (e.g. an unread text message or a missed incoming call). The aim is to establish a basis in semiotics for TUIs that can inform the mapping between physical and virtual parameters. Taking semiotics as basis can help to enhance interface design as the interface ‘specifies the optimal set of signs for the interaction between two entities’ (Nadin, 1988, p. 273).

Keywords:

Tangible User Interfaces, Semiotics, Representation, Interface Design, Design Research

Share

COinS
 
Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

In Touch with Representation: Iconic, Indexical and Symbolic Signification in Tangible User Interfaces

In this paper, we discuss the value of semiotics to inquire tangible user interfaces (TUI) in human- computer interaction (HCI). Drawing on Peirce’s three types of representation – icon, index, and symbol (Peirce, Houser, & Kloesel, 1998) – we analyze signification processes in the design of tangible UIs. As a case study, we draw on several prototypical interfaces and analyze their semiotic structure. We focus specifically on three different significations for a similar application on a mobile phone: Displaying a new event on a mobile phone (e.g. an unread text message or a missed incoming call). The aim is to establish a basis in semiotics for TUIs that can inform the mapping between physical and virtual parameters. Taking semiotics as basis can help to enhance interface design as the interface ‘specifies the optimal set of signs for the interaction between two entities’ (Nadin, 1988, p. 273).

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.