I'm working on an interface that will be interacted with through a Kinect camera, and as such don't want to rely on onscreen buttons. Using basic swiping and an occasional grab and pull, I've found the interface seems to mostly work but am stuck on how to present a "log out" option.

Any thoughts on how to best give an option to log out and confirm log out without relying on anything difficult to discover, yet also easy to perform without a physical interface to interact with?

  • Are there any examples of such an action already floating about? I haven't used the kinect much, so I wouldn't know of anything that would be out there. Have you taken a look at what others are doing? If not, I guess the only thing you can do is user test different actions.
    – UXerUIer
    Sep 8, 2014 at 11:52
  • I've been doing some googling but haven't seen examples yet. I'm new to this type of design.
    – Don H
    Sep 8, 2014 at 11:52
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    Could simply waving one hand be both a login and/or logout gesture? If waving means hello and goodbye, after all...and if you don't need waving to say hello and are using some other login mechanism, then then that seems like a very intuitive option. Users may potentially even like waving goodbye and having the app log them out and say goodbye to them.
    – BrianH
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:07
  • Do you use words/sounds as well? You may want to consider a hybrid solution.
    – trysis
    Sep 9, 2014 at 13:07
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    I usually ask myself: "What gesture would I make if I want to do X". Though admittedly in this case I doubt the double middle-finger is your best solution. (Maybe waving followed by an out of the window gesture?)
    – Jonathan
    Sep 9, 2014 at 17:25

7 Answers 7


Admittedly, I'm not a Kinect user, but to me this doesn't seem like a good fit for a gesture. Gestures are useful for actions that:

  • You want to do frequently - The point of gestures is making something easy to do; and you aren't likely to remember a gesture for something you do rarely.
  • Are easily reversible - It is easy to accidentally make a gesture, so you don't want the cost of this to be too high.

Logging out is typically quite rare (at most once at the end of your session). And if you accidentally log out, it is laborious to have to log back in. If you add a confirm screen, it would mitigate this somewhat, but it would still be annoying (and then logging out would be annoying, too).

Assuming gestures are not your entire interface, I would have logging out be part of the non-gesture interface.

  • Great point about the action of logging out isn't going to happens as often as other actions.
    – UXerUIer
    Sep 8, 2014 at 12:14
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    To be fair, the requirement to log out is not universally a rare action. We're working in a situation where it may be necessary to sign out multiple times per day. Also, logging in is as simple as holding up a QR code, so not too laborious. We won't tend to have easy access to keyboards so I'd be aiming to keep the actions within gestures and spoken words.
    – Don H
    Sep 8, 2014 at 12:38
  • @DonH, fair enough, I was answering based on general experience of logging out. If your application is a special case where this occurs frequently, then a gesture may make sense. I don't have any help on what gestures would be appropriate, though.
    – user31143
    Sep 8, 2014 at 12:43
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    It may be useful if you could post some of your exists gestures. The first think I thought of was moving both my hands down, kind of like closing the lid on a chest, but I could see that gesture being (probably better) suitable for many many other things.
    – TMH
    Sep 8, 2014 at 13:23
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    "this doesn't seem like a good fit for a gesture" - I agree in scenarios where gestures are offered as a shortcut to conventional input methods. However, isn't part of the idea of Kinect interfaces that you do not have to use any other input devices any more, i.e. gestures are the only way of performing any operation? In that case, everything needs a gesture (including infrequent and unreversable actions), and the question is primarily about which gesture is the most intuitive/suitable one. Sep 9, 2014 at 13:23

On the XBox, there is the standard Guide gesture which pauses games and opens a menu where you can e.g. quit or restart the current level. Maybe you could use such a menu to offer a log out button that the user can touch or push.

Use the Kinect Guide gesture to pause game play or open the Kinect Guide.

To do this, position both arms at your sides. Now move your left arm straight out at a 45 degree angle from your body.

Screenshot of guide gesture demo

Source: http://support.xbox.com/en-us/xbox-360/kinect/body-controller

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    +1; left arm at 45deg angle down, right arm at the side should be the correct answer for a Kinect-based interface. Anyone who has used the Kinect on its intended platform will be used to this gesture.
    – Brian S
    Sep 9, 2014 at 18:24

Have the system log you out if you walk away.

The workflow becomes walking up to the camera, holding up a QR code to log in, doing your work, then walking away. Next person repeats the same steps.

If there are cases where a second user enters the range of the camera while the first is still present, or the same user needs to log in under a second account, have the new QR login automatically log out the previous user.

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    This can backfire though. Image you have to, say, pick up a phone, open your front door or something that makes you leave the Kinect range. They you start scratching your head as to why XBox just logged you out, which may have unintended consequences. Sep 8, 2014 at 23:13
  • That is possible, though it depends on their intended use and why people need to logout. I was thinking about common office policies where you are supposed to lock your terminal when you leave your desk to prevent someone from impersonating you. Sep 9, 2014 at 12:14
  • I agree that this could cause "false positives", but if the system is as easy as the OP says to log in, "Hold up a QR code", I can't see this being a major issue.
    – TMH
    Sep 9, 2014 at 13:19
  • @TomHart: It could be if you were in the middle of a task that is now gone. Sep 9, 2014 at 19:00
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    +1, although there should be a second logout operation. When leaving, you [nearly] always want to logout, but you sometimes might want to logout without leaving.
    – Bergi
    Sep 10, 2014 at 4:46

As you have mentioned in the comments to the answer from @dan1111

logging in is as simple as holding up a QR code

Could you not have a second QR code which the users hold up to log out?

Alternatively you also state that spoken word input is acceptable so why try to re-invent the wheel - Just have the users state "Log me out" (I assume here that you can create new voice commands - I do not know if this is possible)

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    or even the same QR code. When scanned and the user is logged out they are then logged in; but if they are logged in and they scan then they are logged out.
    – Brad
    Sep 8, 2014 at 14:42

Depending on the use case of your platform it might be not so funny if you can't turn things off instantly. In other words: If the motion capture software doesn't capture it properly and doesn't turn off. Therefore I'd suggest using something highly reliable.

The most reliable thing is less than a gesture, something that can easily get recognized:

No picture

Simply let the user cover the camera with his hand. This way you can just measure the Hue, the percentage of black or a similar reliable value and let it sleep - like a bird when you put a towel over his cage.

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    I do like this one, something like covering the device would act as a log out.
    – Don H
    Sep 16, 2014 at 14:30

If you are not limited to just gestures, Kinect for Windows API has Facial Recognition (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj130970.aspx), that with a Speech, (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj131034.aspx) would minimize error of logging out a user by way of movement.

Speech could be limited to general system activity (ie, signing in or signing out a user), leaving the gestures as primary interactions.

So, If the system can detect the user and the user's speech command to be logged in/out, that could be a more elegant solution.


I think some hand symbols that are used to indicate something is over/done can be used.

The hand symbol used in baseball for "safe" is sometimes used to indicate that something is over or done. This is sometimes used in boxing when the person laying on the ground has been knocked out.

In boxing the referee may also place both arms up and wave them so that they cross each other. This is similar to the "help me" wave that someone who is lost would make to a passing plane. This means the fight is over in boxing.

Another one is turning your hand so that your fingers are pointing toward your throat and rotating your wrist. A variation of this is to point your fingers outward, palm toward the ground, and rotate your wrist to move your hand left and right.

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