Allen, M., Gluck, J., MacLean, K. E., Tang, E. (2005). "An Initial Usability Assessment for Symbolic Haptic Rendering of Music Parameters" (Poster), in Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces, ICMI'05, pages 244-251, Trento, Italy, October 2005.
Current methods of playlist creation and maintenance do not support user needs, especially in a mobile context. Furthermore, they do not scale: studies show that users with large mp3 collections have abandoned the concept of playlists. To remedy the usability problems associated with playlist creation and navigation - in particular, reliance on visual feedback and the absence of rapid content scanning mechanisms - we propose a system that utilizes the haptic channel. A necessary first step in this objective is the creation of a haptic mapping for music. In this paper, we describe an exploratory study addressed at understanding the feasibility, with respect to learnability and usability, of efficient, eyes-free playlist navigation based on symbolic haptic renderings of key song parameters. Users were able to learn haptic mappings for music parameters to usable accuracy with 4 minutes of training. These results indicate promise for the approach and support for continued effort in both improving the rendering scheme and implementing the haptic playlist system.