Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 201–216 | Cite as

Navigation help in 3D worlds: some empirical evidences on use of sound

  • C. Ardito
  • M. F. Costabile
  • A. De Angeli
  • F. Pittarello


The concept of Interaction Locus (IL) has been introduced to help the users to orient, navigate, and identify relevant interaction areas in 3D Virtual Environments (VEs). The IL is a multimodal concept: it adds to the 3D visual scene parallel information channels that are perceived by other senses. In particular, the IL emphasizes the role of music as a navigation aid in a VE. This paper reports three user-evaluations of different IL enriched virtual worlds, and in particular of the role of the IL auditory component. Results suggest that audio in 3D plays not only an aesthetic role, which the users greatly appreciate, but also a functional role simplifying navigation and helping the users to recognise scenes in the environment. Such a functional role however is subordinated to a proper understanding of the link between music and virtual space. While these experiments refer to desktop virtual reality environments, their findings are general enough to inform the design of navigational tools for other segments of the mixed reality domain.


Auditory interfaces Experimental evaluations Interaction locus Usability Virtual environments 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Blattner M, Sumikawa D, Greenberg R (1989) Earcons and icons: their structure and common design principles. Hum-Comput Interact 4:11–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bowman D, Kruijff E, La Viola J, Poupyrev I (2000) The art and science of 3D interaction. Tutorial notes from the IEEE International Virtual Reality 2000 conference. New Brunswick, NJ, March 18–22Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brewster SA, Wright PC, Edwards ADN (1993) An evaluation of earcons for use in auditory human–computer interfaces. In: Ashlund S, Mullet K, Henderson A, Hollnagel E, White T (eds) Proceedings of InterCHI‘93. ACM, Amsterdam, pp 222–227Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brewster SA, Wright PC, Edwards ADN (1994) The design and evaluation of an auditory-enhanced scrollbar. In: Adelson B, Dumais S, Olson J (eds) Proc. of CHI‘94. ACM, Boston, MA, pp 173–179Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chen JL, Stanney KM (1999) A theoretical model of wayfinding in virtual environments: proposed strategies for navigational aiding. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 8(6):671–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Costalli F, Marucci L, Mori G, Paternò F (2001) Design criteria for usable web-accessible virtual environments. In: Bearman D, Garzotto F (eds) Proc. international cultural heritage informatics meeting (ICHIM) 2001, Cultural heritage and technologies in the third millennium, Milano, September 3–7Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dix A, Finlay J, Abowd G, Beale R (1998) Human–computer interaction. Prentice Hall Europe, Hemel Hempstead, HertfordshireGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fogli D, Pittarello F, Celentano A, Mussio P (2003) Context–aware interaction in a mobile environment. Fifth international symposium on Hum-Comput Interact with mobile devices and services (MobileHCI03), Udine, Italy, September 8–11, pp 434–439Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gabbard JL, Hix D (1997) A taxonomy of usability characteristics in virtual environments.
  10. 10.
    Gaver W (1989) The sonicfinder: an interface that uses auditory icons. Hum-Comput Interact 4(1):67–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gaver W, Smith R (1990) Auditory icons in largescale collaborative environments. In: Diaper D, et al. (eds) Human computer interaction—INTERACT ‘90. Elsevier, North Holland, pp 735–740Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gaver W, Smith R, O’Shea T (1991) Effective sounds in complex systems: the ARKola simulation. CHI‘91 conference proceedings, human factors in computing systems, “Reaching through technology”, ACM, New Orleans, pp 85–90Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    ISO 9241 (1998) Ergonomics requirements for office work with visual display terminal (VDT)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kalawsky RS (1993) The science of virtual reality and virtual environments. Addison-Wesley, Wokingham, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kaur K (1999) Designing virtual environments for usability. Doctoral dissertation. City University, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Palazzo Grassi (1997) Palazzo Grassi web site.
  17. 17.
    Pittarello F (2001) Desktop 3D interfaces for Internet users: efficiency and usability issues, PhD thesisGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pittarello F (2001) Multi sensory guided tours for cultural heritage: the Palazzo Grassi experience. In: Bearman D, Garzotto F (eds) Proc. international cultural heritage informatics meeting (ICHIM) 2001, Cultural heritage and technologies in the third millennium, Milano, September 3–7, vol. 1 pp 73–90Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pittarello F (2003) Accessing information through multimodal 3D environments: towards universal access. UAIS Journal 2(2):189–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pittarello F, Pittarello M, Italiano GF (1998) Architecture and digital exhibitions—the Einstein tower world. In: Goebel M, Landauer J, Lang U, Wapler M (eds) Virtual environments ‘98. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 162–171Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stanney KM, Zyda M (2002) Virtual environments in the 21st century. In: Stanney KM (ed) In handbook of virtual environments. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sumikawa D (1985) Guidelines for the integration of audio cues into computer user interfaces, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Technical Report, UCRL 53656Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sumikawa D, Blattner M, Joy K, Greenberg R (1986) Guidelines for the syntactic design of audio cues in computer interfaces, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Technical Report, UCRL 92925Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Ardito
    • 1
  • M. F. Costabile
    • 1
  • A. De Angeli
    • 2
  • F. Pittarello
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversità di BariBariItaly
  2. 2.School of InformaticsThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversità Ca’ FoscariMestre, VeniceItaly

Personalised recommendations