Reach out and Touch: Eliciting Sense of Touch Through Gesture-based Interaction

Yang Alison Liu
Yi Shen
Cheng Luo
Hock Chuan Chan


With the development of gesture-based interaction technologies (e.g., touchscreen devices and kinetic controllers), consumers can directly use their hands to interact with web interfaces, which may create a sense of touch for consumers. Drawing on feelings-as-information theory, this study investigates the impacts of two types of gesture-based interaction (i.e., touchscreen interaction and mid-air interaction) on consumers’ sense of touch. Results from a laboratory experiment showed that touchscreen interaction elicited a higher sense of touch than mid-air interaction when the importance of product haptic information was high. However, touchscreen interaction did not differ from mid-air interaction in terms of eliciting consumers’ sense of touch when the importance of product haptic information was low. Furthermore, consumers’ sense of touch improved their shopping experience satisfaction by reducing uncertainty about products and fostering attachment to products. Theoretically, this study contributes to the existing literature by empirically investigating the effects of gesture-based interaction on consumers’ bodily sensation, elucidating the role of sense of touch in affecting consumers’ virtual product experience, and highlighting the impacts of interaction method on consumer behavior. This study also provides practical insights into the application of gesture-based interaction technologies.