Usable Gestures For Mobile Interfaces

Usable Gestures for Mobile Interfaces: Evaluating Social Acceptability



This paper examines the social acceptability of gestures typically used to control mobile devices. It analyzes the user's willingness and comfort level in performing specific gestures in different settings with and without mobile devices.


  1. Uses well defined situations and measures to systematically study gesture use. It also uses interviews to gather anecdotal evidence.
  2. References and background work section give a number of related studies, including various gesture techniques.
  3. The gesture survey includes a nice set of device-based and body-based gestures that could be used in other studies or implementations. It also includes sets of "locations" and "audiences" that should be considered when designing gestures for use with any device.
  4. The research showed that there was no correlation between energy expenditure (as measured by an accelerometer) and the social acceptability of a gesture.
  5. People watching people perform gestures rated the social acceptability similarly to those who performed the gestures "in the wild". Useful conclusion: watching a fake demonstration can give people a realistic view of how the demonstrated device would work. (Useful for product development? Test the acceptability of the gestures before actually figuring out how to implement them.) # Using a gesture that means one thing naturally (e.g., head nodding) to mean something else for HCI is odd.


  1. There is no correlation to gestures that are more or less feasible to implement.
  2. Most results are fairly obvious. (People don't like to look silly in public places, although they learn to over time.)