Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Chris Harding

Second Advisor

James Oliver


The simple action of pressing a button is a multimodal interaction with an interesting depth of complexity. As the development of computer interfaces to support 3D tasks evolves, there is a need to better understand how users will interact with virtual buttons that generate feedback from multiple sensory modalities. This research examined the effects of visual, auditory, and haptic feedback from virtual buttons on task performance dialing phone numbers and on the motion of individual buttons presses. This research also presents a theoretical framework for virtual button feedback and a model of virtual button feedback that includes touch feedback hysteresis.

The results suggest that although haptic feedback alone was not enough to prevent participants from pressing the button farther than necessary, bimodal and trimodal feedback combinations that included haptic feedback shortened the depth of the presses. However, the shallower presses observed during trimodal feedback may have led to a counterintuitive increase in the number of digits that the participants omitted during the task. Even though interaction with virtual buttons may appear simple, it is important to understand the complexities behind the multimodal interaction because users will seek out the multimodal interactions they prefer.


Copyright Owner

Adam Joseph Faeth



File Format


File Size

133 pages