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This paper places contemporary literature on the topic of unimodal, single-site display of information using complex tactile signals in the context of progress towards the achievement of transparent communication - placing minimal load on the user's attentional resources. We discuss recent evidence that more is possible with purely haptic display than is commonly believed, as well as procedural developments that support systematic design of transparent tactile information display; and we frame the advances required to realize significant benefits with the technology we have now. Examples used and objectives thus identified focus on establishing effective information representations, and outlining efficient tools and processes for perceptually guiding icon design. Our discussion is inspired by Weiser's vision of calm technology based on locatedness and seamless movement between center and periphery, and it is organized along the lines of potential utility, form and learning.
Date of Publication: July-Dec. 2008