Designing an Effective Vibration-based Notification Interface for Mobile Phones

2013.02 | CSCW 2013

We conducted an experiment to understand how mobile phone users perceive the urgency of ten simple vibration alerts that were created from four basic signals: short on, short off, long on, and long off. The short and long signals correspond to 200 ms and 600 ms, respectively. To convey the level of urgency of notifications and help users prioritize them, the design of mobile phone vibration alerts should consider that the gap length preceding or succeeding a signal, the number of gaps in the vibration pattern, and the vibration’s duration affect an alert’s perceived level of urgency. Our study specifically shows that shorter gap lengths between vibrations (200 ms vs. 600 ms), a vibration pattern with one gap instead of two, and shorter vibration all contribute to making the user perceive the alert as more urgent.


vibration patterns, perceived urgency, mobile phone, notifications, alerts


Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work

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Bahador Saket, Chrisnawan Prasojo, Yongfeng Huang, and Shengdong Zhao