Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Calculation of Totally Optimized: Button
Configurations Using Fitts' Law
Alfred Schmitt and Peter Oel
University of Karlsruhe
Institute for Operating and Dialogue Systems
Kaiserstr. 12, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)721 608-3965, Fax: +49 (0)721 696989
Email: {aschmitt,oel} @ira.uka.de
1
Introduction
This paper addresses the problem of optimal placement and configuration for a set of buttons on a graphical user interface (GUI). We present an optimization algorithm that reduces the average time necessary for pointing device motions. Fitts' law ( Fitts 1954) is used to estimate the transfer time for cursor movements between buttons. Numerous studies in the literature focus on the verification and application of Fitts' law in a rather direct way ( MacKenzie 1992). Our work differs in its goal: The problem of finding totally optimized button configurations is a non-trivial optimization task and is still an open issue.Our problem can be stated as follows: Given is the number n of buttons and corresponding absolute probabilities w(i,j) for user induced cursor movements from button i to button j. We are looking for a button configuration under the following conditions and constraints:
the width of each square button may vary,
each button may be positioned freely within a rectangular area,
no two buttons may overlap each other,
the average time calculated by Fitts' law for lengthy button clicking sequences is minimal.

The suggested approach is rather theoretical but its results will provide some practical insight into the placement and relative size of buttons if a total optimization based exclusively on Fitts' law is aspired.

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