In this weeks reading “Exploring Affective Design for Physical Controls” research was conducted to identify the distinction between different types of knobs, and user experience. The goal of the research was to identify how different types of knobs and their attributes made the user feel. The results of the research found that higher friction in knobs reduced overall performance. However, small amounts of inertia improved performance. When using the different types of controls within the experiment, participants preferred smaller amounts of friction, inertia, and detents compared to higher levels. The study also concluded that although stronger detents improved the users performance, the user still preferred subtle detents.


It is interesting how a slight manipulation of a knobs attribute can affect the outcome of a users performance. This includes not only using a computer or technical interface, but also knobs that are used everyday. Knobs have become a part of everyday life whether it is turning on a stove, adjusting the timing of windshield wiper blades, taking a shower, or opening a door.


Being a musician, turning knobs is part of my hobby. When I want to adjust the tone of my guitar or bass, a knob must be turned. This research article made me realize how undesirable the act of adjusting my tone on my guitar is for me. When adjusting a knob on any of my guitars, there is no friction or inertia. The only to ways to identify where the knob must be adjusted is by visual and auditory feedback. Creating a new knob structure for electric basses and guitars with a tactile user feedback would be a great new design for any guitarist.


Swindells, C., MacLean, K., Booth, K., & Meitner, M. (2007). Exploring affective design for physical controls. Retrieved from