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Does Gestural Computing Break Fitts' Law?

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A representation of gestural computing

A user interface expert considers whether gestural computing violates the rules of Fitts' Law, which mathematically models how quickly you can point to something.

Credit: TechCrunch

In an interview, Francisco Inchauste, a senior user experience designer for Universal Mind, discusses whether Fitts' Law is still relevant in a post-graphical user interface (GUI) world.

Fitts' Law, the foundational principle of human-computer interaction in the windows, icons, menus, and point era, mathematically models how quickly a user can point to something, and it says moving a pointer a short distance to a large target is faster than moving a larger distance to a smaller target.

Inchauste believes both the device/screen size and the design of the interface affect how close users are to following the rules.

Some of Apple's approach to touch still follows Fitts' Law, with the targets being larger and mostly obvious. "However, it begins to bring up other usability issues when everything looks tappable, since people got carried away with this as a style," Inchauste says. "With these more minimal/content interfaces, we don't initially follow Fitts' Law until the targets are discovered."

Inchauste's Rise gestural interface at first glance appears to break Fitts' Law because the user cannot directly interact with the target until they understand the behavior of the interface, but he says once they discover the targets, they begin to follow all of the rules.

From Technology Review
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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