These days everything just tries to be as sleek as it can be, and in terms of aesthetics, it sure looks pretty good. However what about in terms of feel? That’s actually something that researchers at Aalto University, Finland, and KAIST, South Korea have tried to do in a study to find the best way to press a button.


According to Professor Antti Oulasvirta at Aalto University, “This research was triggered by admiration of our remarkable capability to adapt button-pressing. We push a button on a remote controller differently than a piano key. The press of a skilled user is surprisingly elegant when looked at terms of timing, reliability, and energy use.”

“We successfully press buttons without ever knowing the inner workings of a button. It is essentially a black box to our motor system. On the other hand, we also fail to activate buttons, and some buttons are known to be worse than others.” So what did their research find? Unsurprisingly they found that the best buttons to press are ones that have actual travel.

A good example would be mechanical keyboards in which might not be the thinnest or sleekest, but have typically received favorable feedback in terms of it being “satisfying” to use. As to what is the point of the research and what its data can be used for, perhaps it can be used to help better design systems and user interfaces in the future, where maybe more consideration should be given to buttons with travel, even if they don’t necessarily appear to be aesthetically pleasing.

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