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THE POWER OF TAPPING: An interaction model for implementing NFC in Android applications
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC).
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC).
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Near Field Communication (NFC) is an RFID-based technology that creates a port between

the physical and the digital world through an interaction technique often referred to as

tapping; communication is initiated when two interactive NFC-items briefly touch each other.

The tapping interaction technique opens up for creation of new types of user interfaces that

are compelling to use for both experienced and novice users. Previous work has proven the

strengths of interfaces utilizing NFC from a usability perspective, but except for a couple of

tries to make the technique more wide spread, e.g. by Nokia in the early 2000’s, the market

penetration is unexpectedly low given NFC’s potential.

We have explored possible implementations of the tapping technique and created a design

space by developing three prototypes: Sparakvittot, an NFC integrated version of an already up

and running service used to handle digital receipts; PatientSafetyPrototype, a tool for hospital

nurses used to ease the medicine handling process in order to enhance patient safety; TapThat,

used to immediately transfer playback of a sound file between devices by a simple tap. These

three prototypes serve as illustrations of NFC’s three different modes of operation: card

emulation, which is making active NFC hardware act like if it was passive, i.e. not capable of

initiating communication; Read/write, i.e. making active NFC hardware read or write a

passive NFC-tag; Peer-to-peer, which is making active NFC hardware communicate with

another active NFC hardware. All our three prototypes were designed, developed and

evaluated with end-users. Together, the three prototypes show some of the potential and

strengths of NFC, but they also show the importance of finding a consistent model for

interaction which users can recognize and related to irrespective of which application is being


The report concludes with an interaction model to be used when developing an NFC

integrated Android application in order to create a pliable user experience. The interaction

model is not necessarily Android specific and can also be used when implementing the tapping

technique in applications in general. In short our interaction model states that applications

should provide feedback when tapping. This feedback should consist of sounds, haptic and

GUI dialogues. Application preferences should make it possible for experienced users to

decide which feedback they prefer. It is also important to define a clear interaction model and

be consistent on how the tapping technique is implemented in different contexts. Our

interaction model is followed by other findings from the study that we believe are important

to consider when implementing NFC in Android smartphone applications: the importance of

determining if NFC integration is suitable, to use specific intent filters and to use high-fidelity

prototypes when evaluating.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 108 p.
National Category
Media and Communication Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-170580OAI: diva2:838950
Available from: 2015-07-01 Created: 2015-07-01 Last updated: 2015-07-01Bibliographically approved

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