Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Beats: Tapping Gestures for Smart Watches

Oakley, Ian; Lee, DoYoung; Islam, MD Rasel; Esteves, Augusto


Ian Oakley

DoYoung Lee

MD Rasel Islam

Augusto Esteves


Interacting with smartwatches poses new challenges. Although capable of displaying complex content, their extremely small screens poorly match many of the touchscreen interaction techniques dominant on larger mobile devices. Addressing this problem, this paper presents beating gestures, a novel form of input based on pairs of simultaneous or rapidly sequential and overlapping screen taps made by the index and middle finger of one hand. Distinguished simply by their temporal sequence and relative left/right position these gestures are designed explicitly for the very small screens (approx. 40mm square) of smartwatches and to operate without interfering with regular single touch input. This paper presents the design of beating gestures and a rigorous empirical study that characterizes how users perform them -- in a mean of 355ms and with an error rate of 5.5%. We also derive thresholds for reliably distinguishing between simultaneous (under 30ms) and sequential (under 400ms) pairs of screen touches or releases. We then present five interface designs and evaluate them in a qualitative study in which users report valuing the speed and ready availability of beating gestures.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '15
Start Date Apr 18, 2015
End Date Apr 23, 2015
Acceptance Date Dec 14, 2014
Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 15, 2017
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1237-1246
Book Title Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN 9781450331456
Keywords Smart watches; touchscreen; beating gestures;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date May 15, 2017


You might also like

Downloadable Citations