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The Scenario: We're developing this new app which uses a selection slider to select some value (in this case, weight). Now, coming dev time, the client wants this slider to have an inertia scroll (meaning you can send the slide knob left or right on a touch+swipe event), while we suggest a "Touch & Drag" approach with accurate numbers and ranges, plus a manaul input if needed.

I've based this on a personal taste (I hate inertia scroll), but we have a Psychologist in our team and she also told us that an user weight may be a sensitive issue, so displaying values OVER their current weight (which will happen many times in inertia scrolling) might be very detrimental for the user experience. And more important, it will probably affect conversions since this element is a paramount part of the signup process.

However, our client tells us that they have tested this and people likes it better because it's "fun".

There are many reasons that lead me to the believe they didn't test anything and they're basing this on personal tastes. However, I didn't test this myself, so it's as personal taste as theirs.

Thus, I'd like to know: are there any studies comparing Inertia Motion and Value Selection on form data selection? I did a Google search and couldn't find anything, so this is my last resource.

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EDIT: to further explain the concept, I'm including 2 simple images illustrating both scenarios

  • Interesting that a psychologist made a comment about this design decision... I would imagine that she would have some relevant research? The information from the client side testing might be credible, although I am willing to bet that it is from a one-time testing and that users might just as easily hate it after having to 'play' with this feature over and over again, eventually losing the 'fun' factor. – Michael Lai May 18 '15 at 2:17
  • @MichaelLai, while this impacts on a design decision (and she also can comment on this subject), the comment was made on content itself (weight/overweight) and its implications based on design. This being said, she's a PsyD specialized in cognitivism and conductism, she teaches Methods of Scientific Research in University of Buenos Aires (and quite weird, also a Python programmer). She obviously has quite some insight so I tend to hear her, so far everything she told us was pure knowledge and learning, specially on a veery complex project (content wise) – Devin May 18 '15 at 17:55
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to come across as being rude or skeptical, and in fact I am quite happy that there are more psychologists working in the UX field since they are very adept researchers and analysts. I think the general lack of research literature/data that is available is not due to the fact that it hasn't been done, but probably just that it is done internally and no one publishes them other than perhaps at conferences or somewhere with little visibility... – Michael Lai May 18 '15 at 20:47
  • I didn't take as rude Michael, no worries. As a matter of fact, I was commenting this because I'm very excited to work with this Psychologist. While like many others, I have some knowledge of psychology theory, it's a entirely different thing to work with someone who does of this her everyday's life, and we're learning a lot. Don't worry, I didn't take this in a bad way, just excited to share something good – Devin May 18 '15 at 22:25
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In my opinion the presentation of information and the interaction design needs to be based on the data as well as the user context, so unless you are able to somehow find research that fits exactly with your use case I would be weary about drawing conclusions from it.

To guide you in the thinking process, perhaps consider it from a couple of different perspectives, then test those assumptions with actual users:

  1. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make a precise selection?
  2. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make an accurate selection?
  3. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make a one-time selection?
  4. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make frequent selections?
  5. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make a selection to one field?
  6. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make a selection to multiple fields?

  7. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make a selection on a device with larger screen space?

  8. Which strategy will be easier for the user to make a selection on a device with smaller screen space?

My guess is that if you weighed up all the decisions it would seem that something which is simpler and less complicated would fulfill your requirements better.

  • I appreciate your answer and voted it up, but I totally know what I want and how to use it, my question was more oriented to know if there was any existing research on the subject. Anyways, this question is a few weeks old and at this point we're conducting our own research on the subject and user's reaction to motion in web apps – Devin May 18 '15 at 17:59

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