The W3D project’s aim is the development of new principles and tools to create three-dimensional Websites (structure and content) in order to enhance user experience.
The way we interact with personal computers has changed a lot since the appearance of the WIMP interfaces (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer) but, the main interaction principles are still valid. However, graphical user interfaces has remained mainly in the two dimensions constrained by the computer screen. In this work we have explored how the third dimension (depth) can be introduced in desktop based interfaces. The research was focused on the improvement of the user's depth perception without the usage of additional dedicated hardware. The goal was to provide novel interaction techniques in order to increase the user's depth perception, we explored both visual feedback techniques and pseudo-haptic approaches.
Bellow, we provide insights of the different works done. If you need more information, all the resulting publications can be explored here
Motion Parallax & 3D Cursors
We explored new metaphors to improve the depth perception when interacting with 3D content. Our approach focus on the usage of 3D cursors controlled with 2D input devices and a pseudo-motion parallax effect. The additional depth cues provided by the visual feedback of the 3D cursors and the motion parallax are expected to increase the users’ depth perception of the environment. The evaluation of proposed techniques showed that users’ depth perception was significantly increased. Users were able to better judge the depth ordering of virtual environment. Although 3D cursors showed a decrease of selection performance, it is compensated by the increased depth perception.
Pseudo-haptic textures allow to optically-induce relief in textures without a haptic device by adjusting the speed of the mouse pointer according to the depth information encoded in the texture. We presented a novel approach for using curvature information instead of relying on depth information. The curvature of the texture is encoded in a normal map which allows the computation of the curvature and local changes of orientation, according to the mouse position and direction.
We introduce the Elastic Images, a novel pseudo-haptic feedback technique which enables the perception of the local elasticity of images without the need of any haptic device. The proposed approach focus on whether visual feedback is able to induce a sensation of stiffness when the user interacts with an image using a standard mouse. The user, when clicking on a Elastic Image, is able to deform it locally according to its elastic properties. To reinforce the effect, we also propose the generation of procedural shadows and creases to simulate the compressibility of the image and several mouse cursors replacements to enhance pressure and stiffness perception. A psychophysical experiment was conducted to quantify this novel pseudo-haptic perception and determine its perceptual threshold (or its Just Noticeable Difference). The results showed that users were able to recognize up to eight different stiffness values with our proposed method and confirmed that it provides a perceivable and exploitable sensation of elasticity. The potential applications of the proposed approach range from pressure sensing in product catalogs and games, or its usage in graphical user interfaces for increasing the expressiveness of widgets.
An interactive demonstrator can be found at https://team.inria.fr/hybrid/w3d-project/