Simon Voelker, Kjell Ivar Øvergård, Chat Wacharamanotham, Jan Borchers
In Proceedings of ITS '15, ACM, 35 – 38
Publication year: 2015



We present an experimental comparison of tangible rotary knobs and touch-based virtual knobs in three output conditions: eyes-on, eyes-free, and peripheral. Twenty participants completed a simple rotation task on a interactive surface with four different input techniques (two tangibles and two virtual touch widgets) in the three output conditions, representing the distance from the locus of attention. We found that users were in average 20% faster using tangible knobs than using the virtual knobs. We found that tangible knobs retains performance even if they are not in the locus of attention of the users. We provide four recommendations of suit- able choosing knobs based on tasks and design constraints.

The Team

Knobology Revisited is a research project by Simon VoelkerChat Wacharamanotham, and Jan Borchers from the Media Computing Group and Kjell Ivar Øvergård from the University College of Southeast Norway. It is funded in part through the German B-IT Foundation.


 author = {Voelker, Simon and \Overg{\aa}rd, Kjell Ivar and Wacharamanotham, Chat and Borchers, Jan},
 title = {Knobology Revisited: A Comparison of User Performance Between Tangible and Virtual Rotary Knobs},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Interactive Tabletops \& Surfaces},
 series = {ITS '15},
 year = {2015},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-3899-8},
 location = {Madeira, Portugal},
 pages = {35--38},
 numpages = {4},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/2817721.2817725},
 acmid = {2817725},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {rotary widget, tabletop interaction, tangible user interfaces},