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Durham e-Theses
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Enhancing the E-Commerce Experience through Haptic Feedback Interaction

BAMAROUF, YASSER,AHMAD,A. (2012) Enhancing the E-Commerce Experience through Haptic Feedback Interaction. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The sense of touch is important in our everyday lives and its absence makes it difficult to explore and manipulate everyday objects. Existing online shopping practice lacks the opportunity for physical evaluation, that people often use and value when making product choices. However, with recent advances in haptic research and technology, it is possible to simulate various physical properties such as heaviness, softness, deformation, and temperature. The research described here investigates the use of haptic feedback interaction to enhance e-commerce product evaluation, particularly haptic weight and texture evaluation. While other properties are equally important, besides being fundamental to the shopping experience of many online products, weight and texture can be simulated using cost-effective devices.

Two initial psychophysical experiments were conducted using free motion haptic exploration in order to more closely resemble conventional shopping. One experiment was to measure weight force thresholds and another to measure texture force thresholds. The measurements can provide better understanding of haptic device limitation for online shopping in terms of the availability of different stimuli to represent physical products. The outcomes of the initial psychophysical experimental studies were then used to produce various absolute stimuli that were used in a comparative experimental study to evaluate user experience of haptic product evaluation.

Although free haptic exploration was exercised on both psychophysical experiments, results were relatively consistent with previous work on haptic discrimination. The threshold for weight force discrimination represented as downward forces was 10 percent. The threshold for texture force discrimination represented as friction forces was 14.1 percent, when using dynamic coefficient of friction at any level of static coefficient of friction. On the other hand, the comparative experimental study to evaluate user experience of haptic product information indicated that haptic product evaluation does not change user performance significantly. However, although there was an increase in the time taken to complete the task, the number of button click actions tended to decrease. The results showed that haptic product evaluation could significantly increase the confidence of shopping decision. Nevertheless, the availability of haptic product evaluation does not necessarily impose different product choices but it complements other selection criteria such as price and appearance.

The research findings from this work are a first step towards exploring haptic-based environments in e-commerce environments. The findings not only lay the foundation for designing online haptic shopping but also provide empirical support to research in this direction.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Haptic Feedback, E-Commerce, Usability, HCI, Virtual Reality, User Interfaces, Web-based Interaction
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of (2008-2017)
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 May 2013 15:52

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