Using Natural Gesture Interactions Leads to Higher Usability and Presence in a Computer Lesson
In the last few years, motion-tracking technology has become much more accurate and cost effective, opening the door to advances in natural user interfaces (NUIs), such as gesture-based human-computer interactions. Gesture-based interactions involve using the body to input a command in a computer system. The degree to which NUIs are easy to use should be addressed by research as these technologies become more widespread. Before the usefulness of NUIs can be assessed and optimal interfaces refined, the extent to which NUIs are “natural” or “intuitive” should be determined. The purpose of the present study was to determine how natural gestural computer interactions are perceived by users in a computer-based science lesson. An experiment was conducted comparing natural gestures to arbitrary gestures in a computer lesson to answer the research question of how natural gestures are perceived by users in terms of system usability and presence. Perceived usability of the computer lesson was measured using the System Usability Scale. Natural gestures were rated almost a full point higher in usability (on a 5-point scale) than arbitrary gestures. Presence (i.e., the feeling of “being there” in a virtual environment) was also measured after the computer lesson using the Presence Questionnaire. Natural gesture interactions were seen as inducing a higher sense of control in the computer lesson, more immersion, and better interface quality than arbitrary gesture interactions. The finding that natural gestures are perceived as more usable and contribute to higher feelings of presence should encourage instructional designers and researchers to keep the user in mind when developing gesture-based interactions.
KeywordsGesture Human-computer interaction Natural user interface Presence Usability
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