With the rise of smart watches and other haptic-enabled peripherals, it seems inevitable that there will need to be a set of established patterns that will be immediately (or with the smallest learning curve possible) be recognisable to the user. Does anyone know of any already established haptic patterns for alerting or messaging the user?

  • The reason I asked this question is that there are now so many possibilities in terms of haptic interaction: not just pulsing and length of pulse but now speed of vibration and, in some cases, multiple motors. This should all provide for a rich haptic language and I was keen to know if there were any patterns already established. Apr 9, 2015 at 16:09
  • As there doesn't appear to be any kind of definite answer to this I'm going to close it up Apr 24, 2015 at 10:11
  • Upvoting as I think this is a UX related question. Hope more people with insights care and answer :) Apr 24, 2015 at 19:34
  • Thanks @greenforest but, having had a good hunt around for more information and even getting in touch with ISO and BSA, I just don't think there is an answer to this... yet! Apr 26, 2015 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


When people discuss haptic feedback (in relation to smart watches) like it's a new thing they are mainly talking about the feedback when people are actively touching the surface of the screen i.e when performing actions.

In this instance I can't imagine there is a use to provide feedback whilst touching the screen that you have a message as if you are engaging with the device it's likely that you'd have a visual cue. Other than that, there is already an established tradition of physical alerts to messages etc through vibrations etc.

It used to be with mobile phones that when you got a text message the vibration would be the same as the Morse Code for SMS so '... _ _ ...' which is well recognised. I imagine there might be the reintroduction of a degree of coded vibrations to communicate certain alerts. Actually that sounds quite exciting in a way, like imagine if when you got a notification from facebook you felt your watch tap your wrist with an 'FB' in Morse Code - you'd soon start to recognise them. Maybe I'm onto something here haha...

  • 1
    Gah! Now I'm going to have to re-learn Morse code (which I haven't touched in 40+ years)
    – Voxwoman
    Apr 9, 2015 at 12:59
  • Well every time your Nokia phone beeped at you with a new message back in the 90's/early 2000's it was morse code for SMS, so not such a distant past: youtube.com/watch?v=scFR4sYnVDc
    – Chris
    Apr 9, 2015 at 13:50
  • I'm not sure the morse analog is useful any more - MMS would be difficult to distinguish from SMS and, in any case, the . . . - - . . . pattern has long been left behind in favour of shorter, more immediate patterns. Apr 9, 2015 at 16:11

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