Human-Computer Interface Technology Design Lab 1:
Human Performance and Fitts' Law

Paul Fitts found a predictable relationship between the size of a target, the distance we have to move to it, and the speed at which we can tap, point at, click, or whatever on it. Today we'll do experiments to try to determine this relationship. The typical Fitts' Law experiment involves alternating tapping on two targets. Another variant involves targets appearing randomly in a field, and tapping those.

Paper and pencil tapping task

Paper and pencil signature task

"IDTest" program: evaluating pointing devices

We recommend that you run these tests in the warm, secure, and comfortable HCI lab.  If you'd like to run them at on your own machine at home, however, here are Microsoft Windows installation files for the Lab 1 Java program from IBM.  We make no guarantees of merchantablility or fitness for a particular purpose, blah, blah, blah:  in other words, you may have to thrash around with java to get them to work.

Putting it all together

Further reading

The ID Test is written in Java by Barton Smith at the IBM Almaden Research Center, partially for this class. You can download it or get more information about running it from Barton Smith's IDTest page.
CS436: Human-Computer Interface Technology, Princeton University, Fall 2007
Authors: Shumin Zhai, C. Sapp, J. Hainsworth, P. Cook
Copyright © 1999-2007, Princeton University and Stanford University