User interfaces that incorporate intuitive interaction metaphors have the potential to make remote control of physical systems feel more natural than ever before. The spread of smart mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, provides opportunities to develop and examine examples of such interfaces due to the devices’ portability and the intuitiveness and reprogrammability of mobile applications. However, the design of metaphors for interacting with a particular system poses an open-ended, creative design challenge that lacks a single-point solution. This paper explores what we refer to as a dominant metaphor for performing a teleoperation task via interaction with a mobile user interface. These dominant metaphors may be inspired from the physical nature of the system to give the user the most natural experience when using a mobile interface. Our approach for choosing an appropriate metaphor of interaction is demonstrated with an experiment wherein participants are asked to use different interaction metaphors to control a ball and beam testbed. Experimental data shows that the preferred metaphor of the participants is the dominant metaphor of interaction, the one which yields significantly better task performance.

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