Innovation & evaluation of tangible direct manipulation digital drawing pens for children

Tai Hua Lee, Fong-Gong Wu, Huei Tsz Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Focusing on the theme of direct manipulation, in this study, we proposed a new and innovative tangible user interface (TUI) design concept for a manipulative digital drawing pen. Based on interviews with focus groups brainstorming and experts and the results of a field survey, we selected the most suitable tangible user interface for children between 4 and 7 years of age. Using the new tangible user interface, children could choose between the brush tools after touching and feeling the various patterns. The thickness of the brush could be adjusted by changing the tilt angle. In a subsequent experimental process we compared the differences in performance and subjective user satisfaction. A total of sixteen children, aged 4–7 years participated in the experiment. Two operating system experiments (the new designed tangible digital drawing pen and traditional visual interface-icon-clicking digital drawing pens) were performed at random and in turns. We assessed their manipulation performance, accuracy, brush stroke richness and subjective evaluations. During the experimental process we found that operating functions using the direct manipulation method, and adding shapes and semantic models to explain the purpose of each function, enabled the children to perform stroke switches relatively smoothly. By using direct manipulation digital pens, the children could improve their stroke-switching performance for digital drawing. Additionally, by using various patterns to represent different brushes or tools, the children were able to make selections using their sense of touch, thereby reducing the time required to move along the drawing pens and select icons (The significant differences (p = 0.000, p < 0.01) existed in the manipulation times for drawing thick lines using the crayon function of the two (new and old) drawing pens (new 5.8750 < old 10.7500)). The addition of direct manipulation movements to drawing operations enhanced the drawing results, thereby increasing the children's enjoyment of drawing with tangible digital drawing pens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovation & evaluation of tangible direct manipulation digital drawing pens for children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this