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A tangible way to filter your Facebook Feed and find back what you were looking for. An application of Tangible Thinking

for tangible and
embodied interaction

Course Project
Tangible and Embodied Interaction (elective)

assistant professor dr.
Bart Hengeveld & Saskia Bakker

no client

Bart Hengeveld, Saskia Bakker & David Verweij

Project members: Moos van der Bijl & Sander van Eck

in short

Design challenge

Gearfeed enables the general Facebook user to look back and scroll through things he/she has liked and to filter your normal news feed on specific themes.

Tangible and Embodied interaction (TEI) is an interaction style. Tangible user interfaces have five strengths that can support certain tasks that need to be carried out. Therefore a valuable application of TEI is one that makes sure that the included strengths support the tasks needed to be carried out with it. The tasks GEARFEED needs to carry out are
- looking back at posts that were liked/saved
- filter on posts within these liked/saved ones
- filter the normal Facebook news feed on specific themes

This design focuses on the strength tangible thinking. This is realized by the fact that physical tokens serve as external memory and thinking props. By rearranging the gears the filtered feed changes, which makes the user think about what he/she wants to see. Rearranging is an epistemic action and helps exploring options to get the most suitable feed. Externalizing the filtering process decreases the mental workload of searching posts. Decreasing the mental workload of the tasks makes them easier to be carried out and thus supports. Most of the other strengths support tangible thinking and in this way support the tasks needed to be carried out. Strong-specific gears create physical affordances of clicking and combining. This improves the understanding of the filter mechanism which supports tangible thinking.


The symbols on top of the gears represent the filter theme which links action to effect and eases the cognition process. Space-multiplexing supports the speed in which Facebook feed options can be explored because both hands can be used to rearrange multiple filters simultaneously. According to this analysis, Gearfeed definitely contains the strength tangible thinking and some supportive others that all together support the tasks that need to be carried out which makes it a valuable application of TEI.

A valuable application of TEI is also one that gives a better solution than a graphical user interface design. The main problem looking at Facebook is that it is very difficult to track back posts and to filter your normal feed on specific themes. GEARFEED is a tangible design which has five strengths coming along with it. In the analysis according to the strengths, above, it can be seen that those make the design very powerful in carrying out its tasks that help solving the problems mentioned above. Mostly, because GEARFEED decreases the mental workload of the tasks by using the physical environment. Only, this tangible design limits the user in space and interaction. Mostly, Facebook is used for a quick view at multiple places. Because of the shape and size it is not possible to interact with the Facebook messages everywhere at any time. On the other hand the main focus of GEARFEED is to look back at what you have liked/saved and this does not need to be done everywhere and at all times. This all makes Gearfeed a valuable application of TEI.





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