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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 575463, 12 pages
Research Article

Designing Tangible User Interfaces for NFC Phones

1Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Infotech Oulu, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4500, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
3Oulun Energia, P.O. Box 116, 90101 Oulu, Finland

Received 7 July 2011; Accepted 11 October 2011

Academic Editor: Kiyoshi Kiyokawa

Copyright © 2012 Mikko Pyykkönen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The increasing amount of NFC phones is attracting application developers to utilize NFC functionality. We can hence soon expect a large amount of mobile applications that users command by touching NFC tags in their environment with their NFC phones. The communication technology and the data formats have been standardized by the NFC Forum, but there are no conventions for advertising to the users NFC tags and the functionality touching the tags triggers. Only individual graphical symbols have been suggested when guidelines for advertising a rich variety of functionality are called for. In this paper, we identify the main challenges and present our proposal, a set of design guidelines based on more than twenty application prototypes we have built. We hope to initiate discussion and research resulting in uniform user interfaces for NFC-based services.