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Hover & Hold

Table of contents
  1. Introduction
  2. How it Works
  3. Feedback and reassurance
    1. The selection ring
    2. Confirmation of selection
  4. Limitations
  5. Hover & Hold with Ultraleap TouchFree


User moves a cursor over the button they want, then holds still for a short amount to select it.

Hover and Hold interaction for touchless technology public screens

With the Hover & Hold interaction, users can get to grips with a touchless kiosk very quickly. However, testing indicates Air Push feels more natural for most users and work is ongoing to improve Hover & Hold’s viability for different types of kiosks.

Holding their hand anywhere in the interaction zone, users simply move their hand to move the cursor. When they stop moving, the cursor momentarily locks in place and shows a short, timed animation, before activating any button or UI component that’s present.

How it Works

Hover & Hold uses the position of a user’s hand to judge whether they selecting or moving the cursor into position. As such, it works with a range of hand poses, and can be initiated from anywhere within the interaction zone.

Hover and Hold interaction for touchless technology public screens

The general public will use a variety of hand poses to interact with the kiosk. They can use their whole hand or any number of fingers extended to make a selection.

Feedback and reassurance

The cursor’s purpose is to provide users with live feedback on their interactions with the interface. It gives users confidence in their actions and provides reassurance they are currently selecting their intended target.

The selection ring

The animation that plays is a small “ring” graphic that fills around the central cursor dot. This makes use of graphics familiar to most users, with associations to something in a digital interface “loading” or “filling”. In Ultraleap user testing it has proven to be widely recognized and its function understood.

Hover and Hold interaction for touchless technology public screens

Confirmation of selection

When the user’s hand stays still for about half a second, the system will begin a countdown before executing a selection on the screen’s UI, interacting with whichever button or UI control is present. The central cursor dot animates upon selection.

Hover and Hold interaction for touchless technology public screens

In addition to button animations and colour changes upon selection, the cursor dot animation informs the user that their selection has been successful. This is particularly important when the physical sensation of touching glass is absent from the interaction.

Use of audio feedback such a “click” sound upon selection can also help confirm a successful selection has been made.


TouchFree works as a “virtual screen” overlaid on top of a touchscreen UI, and as such interprets user actions, sending “touch” signals to the UI at the right times. It cannot identify or respond to UI elements as the cursor passes over them, and as such, Hover & Hold will begin the selection animation every time the cursor is paused, whether there is a button present or not. Whilst this is not optimal for the user experience, Ultraleap have given careful consideration to timing in order to find a solution that feels natural for users.

Hover & Hold with Ultraleap TouchFree

The Hover & Hold interaction type is included with Ultraleap’s TouchFree application. TouchFree is designed to run invisibly on top of existing touchscreen user interfaces, providing touchless interaction without writing a single line of code.

Ultraleap recommend the following selection timing for Hover. These can be changed in the User Interface Settings screen of the TouchFree application.

It is important to have the appropriate settings for your specific UI and audience’s needs. The table below includes the Hover & Hold settings we recommended for most existing kiosk UIs.

Setting Name Recommend Value Description
Cursor accuracy assist 20% Stops the cursor moving whilst making a selection
Cursor size 0.80 cm The size of the cursor on-screen
Cursor vertical offset 0.00 cm Moves the cursor up or down relative to the user’s hand
Hover cursor start time 0.5 seconds The amount of time the user must hold their hand still before the cursor countdown timer begins
Hover cursor complete time 0.6 seconds The amount of time the user must keep their hand still once the cursor countdown timer begins in order to successfully select an item

Hover and Hold interaction for touchless technology public screens