Pointing devices

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Pointing devices

Post by Archie » 30 Jun 2019 21:01

Today, dominating type of pointing device is a mouse. Users of other types are in minority, but from time to time are trying to convince others that particular device is definitely better. To support this opinion, various medical, scientific and ergonomic data are quoted - naturally, supporting required point of view. Moreover, device manufacturers often publish some reviews and surveys that lead to the conclusion that superiority of particular device over competitors is confirmed by science. But is it true?

General public preference is clear nowadays: visit any retail or online computer store to see that. Nonetheless, mice are still not exclusive on the market. Let's try to evaluate actual data related to the pointing devices comparison. Over the years of wide popularity of computers, many researches tried to compare different devices to find out which one is better for particular task. Many reports are available, often declaring the mouse is better - but question is: how the data were obtained, and who are users involved in testing?

One example is a military-oriented survey conducted in 2003 by German Research Institute for Communication, Information Processing to determine the best device for Naval Anti-Air Warfare Operators. Results published seems to prove trackball is less productive. Sounds like pure scientific data? At first glance, yes. But there's one thing more. Take some average Joe selected to participate in tests. It's clear he was using a mouse in school, mouse at home, mouse in college, mouse at library, mouse at workplace... Now, he'll have to perform some accuracy and speed testing operations with mouse, trackball, voice input and touchscreen. Guess what? 8-)

In my opinion, there are no "the best" device type for all. It's merely matter of personal preference, and if some kind of input tool is perfect for you - that's fine, but not necessarily true for others. Below is a list of various reports I've collected, but I won't recommend to take any single of them as the source of absolute truth...


A Comparison of Input Devices in Elemental Pointing and Dragging Tasks
Scott MacKenzie, Abigail Sellen, and William Buxton
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Dynamic Graphics Project, Computer Systems Research Institute
University of Toronto
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/A c ... evices.pdf
An experiment is described comparing three devices (a mouse, a trackball, and a stylus with tablet) in the performance of pointing and dragging tasks. During pointing, movement times were shorter and error rates were lower than during dragging. It is shown that Fitts’ law can model both tasks, and that within devices the index of performance is higher when pointing than when dragging. Device differences also appeared. The stylus displayed a higher rate of information processing than the mouse during pointing but not during dragging. The trackball ranked third for both tasks.

Age Differences in Computer Input Device Use: A Comparison of Touchscreen, Trackball, and Mouse
Ho-chuen Ng, Da Tao, and Calvin K.L. Or
Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering,
The University of Hong Kong
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/A C ... Mouse.pdf
This study examined age-related differences in user performance and preference with three computer input devices (mouse, touchscreen, and trackball) among older, middle-aged, and younger adults. Sixty-six participants were recruited and equally split into the three age groups. The results showed that age and input device had significant effect on task completion time and number of error. There were significant age-related performance differences in task completion time among the input devices. Ratings of users’ preference indicated that the older adults preferred trackball to the mouse and touchscreen. Our findings suggest that the touchscreen could moderate only part of the age-related performance differences and conferred limited benefits to older adults. More research efforts are required to examine user characteristics, user perception on the use of the devices, and task requirements before we can determine the benefits of an input device for users in different ages.

Accuracy Measures for Evaluating Computer Pointing Devices
I. Scott MacKenzie, Tatu Kauppinen, Miika Silfverberg
CHI 2001 • 31 MARCH – 5 APRIL
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Acc ... evices.PDF
In view of the difficulties in evaluating computer pointing devices across different tasks within dynamic and complex systems, new performance measures are needed. This paper proposes seven new accuracy measures to elicit (sometimes subtle) differences among devices in precision pointing tasks. The measures are target re-entry, task axis crossing, movement direction change, orthogonal direction change, movement variability, movement error, and movement offset. Unlike movement time, error rate, and throughput, which are based on a single measurement per trial, the new measures capture aspects of movement behaviour during a trial. The theoretical basis and computational techniques for the measures are described, with examples given. An evaluation with four pointing devices was conducted to validate the measures. A causal relationship to pointing device efficiency (viz. throughput) was found, as was an ability to discriminate among devices in situations where differences did not otherwise appear. Implications for pointing device research are discussed.

Accurate Measurements of Pointing Performance from In Situ Observations
Krzysztof Z. Gajos, Katharina Reinecke and Charles Herrmann
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Acc ... rmance.pdf
We present a method for obtaining lab-quality measurements of pointing performance from unobtrusive observations of natural in situ interactions. Specifically, we have developed a set of user-independent classifiers for discriminating between deliberate, targeted mouse pointer movements and those movements that were affected by any extraneous factors. To develop and validate these classifiers, we developed logging software to unobtrusively record pointer trajectories as participants naturally interacted with their computers over the course of several weeks. Each participant also performed a set of pointing tasks in a formal study set-up. For each movement, we computed a set of measures capturing nuances of the trajectory and the speed, acceleration, and jerk profiles. Treating the observations from the formal study as positive examples of deliberate, targeted movements and the in situ observations as unlabeled data with an unknown mix of deliberate and distracted interactions, we used a recent advance in machine learning to develop the classifiers. Our results show that, on four distinct metrics, the data collected in-situ and filtered with our classifiers closely matches the results obtained from the formal experiment.

An Evaluation of Input Devices for 3-D Computer Display Workstations
Robert J. Beaton, Richard J. DeHoff, Novia Weiman, and Peter W. Hildebrandt
Imaging Research Laboratory, Tektronix Laboratories, P.O. Box 500, Mail Stop 50 -320
Tektronix, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/An ... or 3-D.pdf
This paper reports several results from an on-going research program designed to examine the utility of alternate input device technologies for 3-dimensional (3-D) computer display workstations. In this paper, operator performance levels on a 3-D cursor-positioning task were compared using three input devices: (1) a trackball that allowed unrestricted (i.e., free-space) movements within the display space, (2) a mouse that provided selectable two-axis (i.e., plane) movements, and (3) a set of thumbwheels that provided separate controls for orthogonal single-axis (i.e., vector) movements. In addition, the input device evaluation was conducted for two operationally distinct 3-D display techniques: (1) a linear perspective encoding of image depth information and (2) a field -sequential stereoscopic encoding of depth information. Results are discussed in terms of input device selection and general design considerations for the user interface to 3-D computer workstations.

An Indexed Bibliography on Tracking
Salvatore P. Schipani
U.S. Army Human Engineering Laboratory
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/An ... acking.pdf
This document comprises a bibliography about tracking and related literature, with corresponding documentation (indexed author and subject listings) to enhance its utility as a reference. This information was initially gathered to support the premise that tracking research should be considered when contemplating the development of military systems for teleoperation scenarios.

Comparison of Multiple 3D Rotation Methods
Yao Jun Zhao, Dmitri Shuralyov, Wolfgang Stuerzlinger
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
York University, Toronto, Canada
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Com ... ethods.pdf
In this paper, we present an experimental comparison of 3D rotation techniques. In all techniques, the third degree of freedom is controlled by the mouse-wheel. The investigated techniques are Bell’s Trackball, Shoemake’s Arcball and the Two-axis Valuator method. The result from a pilot showed no performance or accuracy difference among these three. However, we did observe minor differences in an experiment with more participants and trials, though these differences were not significant. Also, from questionnaires, we found that most of the users considered the use of mouse wheel helpful for completing the tasks.

Comparison of Six Cursor Control Devices Based on Fitts' Law Models
Brian W. Epps
Human Factors Laboratory, V.P.I. & S.U.
Blacksburg, Virginia
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Com ... evices.pdf
Six cursor control devices were compared on a target acquisition task which required subjects to move a cursor into square targets of varying sizes and at various screen distances. The target acquisition performance data were fitted to movement time models proposed by Fitts, Jagacinski, and Kvalseth. Regression analysis results indicated good predictions of target acquisition performance for the six cursor devices. The best fit was obtained with the trackball across the three models.

Empirical Comparison of Five Input Devices for Anti-Air Warfare Operators
Morten Grandt, Claudius Pfendler, Oliver Mooshage
FGAN - Research Institute for Communication, Information Processing, and Ergonomics
Wachtberg-Werthhoven, Germany
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Emp ... evices.pdf
Operators appointed in the warfare area Anti Air Warfare (AAW) on battleships have to identify and classify airborne objects using sensor data presented on workstation displays. They feed results into the system so that an adequate evaluation of the situation can be conducted and response can be initiated if necessary. Stress and time load are very high as the decision basis is often limited and wrong decisions may have severe consequences. Aside from computer assistance, adequate input devices could also support operators by allowing faster responses. Therefore, in an experiment a conventional computer mouse, two different trackballs as well as touch and speech input were compared in respect to response time, correctness, and subjective workload in a simplified AAW task. Furthermore popup menus and conventional buttons at the screen’s upper edge were compared. The results demonstrate that in general touch input and mouse show the fastest response times whereas speech input and the trackballs constitute the other extreme. As well, popup menus were inferior to the buttons in response times. Workload was mostly consistent with these results, except for speech input, which was rated low in workload.

Evaluation of Three Wearable Computer Pointing Devices for Selection Tasks
Joanne E. Zucco, Bruce H. Thomas, and Karen Grimmer
Wearable Computer Laboratory
School of Computer and Information Science
Centre of Allied Health
School of Health Sciences
University of South Australia
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Eva ... evices.pdf
This paper presents the results of an experiment comparing three commercially available pointing devices (a trackball, gyroscopic mouse and Twiddler2 mouse) performing selection tasks for use with wearable computers. The study involved 30 participants performing selection tasks with the pointing devices while wearing a wearable computer on their back and using a head-mounted display. The error rate and time to complete the selection of the circular targets was measured. When examining the results, the gyroscopic mouse showed the fastest mean time for selecting the targets, while the trackball performed with the lowest error rate.

Gameplay Evaluation of the Trackball Controller
Daniel Natapov I. Scott MacKenzie
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
York University, Toronto, Canada
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Gam ... roller.pdf
We present a study of user performance in a First Person Shooter game comparing a prototype trackball controller, a standard game controller, and a keyboard and mouse. The prototype controller replaces the right analog stick of a standard game controller (used for pointing and camera control) with a trackball. To measure the performance of the three input devices, participants played two games. Penguin Hunt measured the number of target hits per minute, which was 28.1 with the keyboard and mouse, 22.9 with the trackball controller, and 21.7 with the standard controller. Modern Warfare measured average completion times, which were 26.8 s with the keyboard and mouse, 31.8 s with the trackball controller and 35.5 s with the standard controller. The trackball controller represents a 5.5% target hits increase over the standard controller in Penguin Hunt, and a 10.4% speed-up in trial completion time in Modern Warfare.

Gaze-supported pointing devices for day-to-day computer interaction
Germán Leiva
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
School of Information and Communication
Stockholm, Sweden
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Gaz ... device.pdf
In this work we assess four prototypes of gaze-supported input devices that aim to be more ergonomic alternatives than the mouse and touchpads for day to day computer usage. These prototypes (nunchuck, ring, smartphone and trackball)have three properties. First, they enable a distant interaction from the computer, letting the user have a 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture. Second, they allow one-handed interactions, a convenient setting for people that can only use one hand due to ergonomic complications in the other one. And last, they are based on familiar input technologies and conventions, so users can easily learn how to use them. An experiment on pointing and drag & drop tasks was conducted to evaluate quantitative properties of the devices and get qualitative user feedback. The smartphone ranked first on almost all the user feedback entries.The measures of speed and accuracy presented several outliers.According to the measured results, the smartphone was the fastest pointing device and the most accurate for every task; the trackball was the fastest device for drag & drop tasks. The nunchuck ranked last in all the measures. Based on this study, future work should be conducted on improving the design of the companion devices based on multitouch and trackball technologies.

Fitts’ Law
I. Scott MacKenzie
The Wiley Handbook of Human Computer Interaction
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Han ... action.pdf
Human movement is ubiquitous in computing. Our arms, wrists, and fingers busy themselves on keyboards, desktops, and contact‐sensitive displays. So, matching the movement limits and capabilities of humans with interaction techniques on computing systems is an important area of research in human‐computer interaction (HCI). Considerable HCI research is directed at modeling, predicting, and measuring human performance. In the realm of human movement, Fitts’ law is the preeminent model for this research.

Hardware and Software Resolution For a Pointing Device
© 1993 Microchip Technology Inc.
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Har ... Device.pdf
The rated differences in pointing device resolution can be confusing to the user; this application note describes the method for calculating hardware resolution of a pointing device that incorporates Microchip's MTA41XXX Mouse Controller. It also includes an explanation of the software controlled resolution for these same devices. Mice and trackball resolution is rated in terms of DPI (Dots Per Inch). This resolution may be controlled via hardware or software, but specific differences exist in each case

Human Performance Using Computer Input Devices in the Preferred and Non-Preferred Hands
Paul Kabbash, I. Scott MacKenzie, William Buxton
Computer Systems Research Institute, University of Toronto
Dept. of Computing & Information Science, University of Guelph
University of Toronto & Xerox PARC, c/o Computer Systems Research Institute
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Hum ... evices.pdf
Subjects’ performance was compared in pointing and dragging tasks using the preferred and non-preferred hands. Tasks were tested using three different input devices: a mouse, a trackball, and a tablet-with-stylus. The trackball had the least degradation across hands in performing the tasks, however it remained inferior to both the mouse and stylus. For small distances and small targets, the preferred hand was superior. However, for larger targets and larger distances, both hands performed about the same. The experiment shows that the non-pteferred hand is more than a poor approximation of the preferred hand. The hands are complementary, each having its own strength and weakness. One design implication is that the non-preferred hand is well suited for tasks that do not require precise action, such as scrolling.

Human-Computer Interaction
A Journal of Theoretical, Empirical, and Methodological Issues of User Science and of System Design
Volume 7, Number 1, 1992
Thomas P. Moran, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers
Hillsdale, New Jersey, Hove and London
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Hum ... Center.pdf


Temporal Aspects of Tasks in the User Action Notation
H. Rex Hartson, Philip D. Gray
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Glasgow University
The need for communication among a multiplicity of cooperating roles in user interface development translates into the need for a common set of interface design representation techniques. The important difference between design of the interaction part of the interface and design of the interface software calls for representation techniques with a behavioral view-a view that focuses on user interaction rather than on the software. The User Action Notation (UAN) is a user- and task-oriented notation that describes physical (and other) behavior of the user and interface as they perform a task together. The primary abstraction of the UAN is a user task. The work reported here addresses the need to identify temporal relation- ships within user task descriptions and to express explicitly and precisely how designers view temporal relationships among those tasks. Drawing on simple temporal concepts such as events in time and preceding and overlapping of time intervals, we identify basic temporal relationships among tasks: se- quence, waiting, repeated disjunction, order independence, interruptibility, one-way interleavability, mutual interleavability, and concurrency. The UAN temporal relations, through the notion of modal logic, offer an explicit and precise representation of the specific kinds of temporal behavior that can occur in asynchronous user interaction without the need to detail all cases that might result.
Inferring Graphical Procedures: The Compleat Metamouse
David L. Maulsby, Ian H. Witten, Kenneth A. Kittlitz, and Valerio G. Franceschin
University of Calgary
Metamouse is a demonstrational interface for graphicai editing tasks within a drawing program. The user specifies a procedure by performing an example execution trace and creating graphical tools where necessary to help make constraints explicit. The system generalizes the user's action sequence, identifying key features of individual steps and disregarding coincidental events. It creates a program with loops and conditional branches as appro- priate and predicts upcoming actions, thereby reducing the tedium of repetitive and precise graphical editing. It uses default reasoning about graphical constraints to make initial generalizations and enables the user to correct these hypotheses either by rejecting its predictions or by editing iconic descriptors it displays after each action.
Fitts' Law as a Research and Design Tool in Human-Computer Interaction
I. Scott MacKenzie
University of Toronto
According to Fitts' law, human movement can be modeled by analogy to the transmission of information. Fitts' popular model has been widely adopted in numerous research areas, including kinematics, human factors, and (recently) human-computer interaction (HCI). The present study provides a historical and theoretical context for the model, including an analysis of problems that have emerged through the systematic deviation of observations from predictions. Refinements to the model are described, including a formulation for the index of task difficulty that is claimed to be more theoretically sound than Fitts' original formulation. The model's utility in predicting the time to position a cursor and select a target is explored through a review of six Fitts' law studies employing devices such as the mouse, trackball, joystick, touchpad, helmet-mounted sight, and eye tracker. An analysis of the performance measures reveals tremendous inconsistencies, making across-study comparisons difficult. Sources of experimental variation are identified to reconcile these differences.

Input devices for web browsing: age and hand effects
Tiffany Jastrzembski, Neil Charness, Patricia Holley and Jeffrey Feddon
Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Inp ... owsing.pdf
The work reported in this paper examined performance on a mixed pointing and data entry task using direct and indirect positioning devices for younger, middle-aged, and older adults (n=72) who were experienced mouse users. Participants used both preferred and non-preferred hands to perform an item selection and text entry task simulating a typical web page interaction. Older adults performed more slowly than middle-aged adults who in turn performed more slowly than young adults. Performance efficiency was superior with the mouse for older adults only on the first two trial blocks. Thereafter mouse and light pen yielded equivalent performance. For other age groups, mouse and light pen were equivalent at all points of practice. Contrary to prior research revealing superior performance with a light pen for pure pointing tasks, these results suggest that older adults may initially perform worse with a light pen than a mouse for mixed tasks.

Input Devices: An Illustrated Tour
William Buxton
Human Input to Computer Systems, 25 October, 2016
The purpose of chapter is to provide a quick introduction to a range of input devices. It will give the reader a sense of how diverse the range of devices is, both across and within device categories. In it, devices are organized primarily by their physical and mechanical properties. This is the way in which they have mostly been discussed in the literature (for example, Newman & Sproull, 1973; Foley & van Dam, 1982; Sherr, 1988; MacKenzie, 1995). While this is a good start, much of the rest of this book is to build on this foundation, and try and balance our discussion of technologies with one that focuses more on the user, intent, and context.

Motor Behaviour Models for Human-Computer Interaction
I. Scott MacKenzie
Department of Computer Science
York University
Toronto, Canada
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Mot ... action.pdf
The movement of body and limbs is inescapable in human-computer interaction (HCI). Whether browsing the web or intensively entering and editing text in a document, our arms, wrists, and fingers are at work on the keyboard, mouse, and desktop. Our head, neck, and eyes move about attending to feedback marking our progress. This chapter is motivated by the need to match the movement limits, capabilities, and potential of humans with input devices and interaction techniques on computing systems. Our focus is on models of human movement relevant to human-computer interaction. Some of the models discussed emerged from basic research in experimental psychology, whereas others emerged from, and were motivated by, the specific need in HCI to model the interaction between users and physical devices, such as mice and keyboards.

Performance Differences in the Fingers, Wrist, and Forearm in Computer Input Control
Ravin Balakrishnan, I. Scott MacKenzie
Dept. of Computer Science
Dept. of Computing & Information Science
University of Toronto
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Per ... orearm.pdf
Recent work in computer input control has sought to maximize the use of the fingers in the operation of computer pointing devices. The main rationale is the hypothesis that the muscle groups controlling the fingers have a higher bandwidth than those controlling other segments of the human upper limb. Evidence which supports this, however, is inconclusive. We conducted an experiment to determine the relative bandwidths of the fingers, wrist, and forearm and found that the fingers do not necessarily outperform the other limb segments. Our results indicate that the bandwidth of the unsupported index finger is approximately 3.0 bits/s while the wrist and forearm have bandwidths of about 4.1 bits/s. We also show that the thumb and index finger working together in a pinch grip have an information processing rate of about 4.5 bits/s. Other factors which influence the relative performance of the different limbs in manipulation tasks are considered.

How choice of mouse may affect response timing in psychological studies
Richard R. Plant, Nick Hammond, and Tom Whitehouse
University of York, England
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/response timing.pdf
Mice from the early 1990s seemed to offer a cheap and viable alternative to more expensive response boxes, with fairly consistent results being found between studies. However, has anything changed in the intervening decade? Are newer mice technologies necessarily better? Is USB a better mouse interface than the old-fashioned serial interface? With such questions in mind, we outline a method for bench-testing the timing characteristics of mice outside of a PC, in order to predict their contribution to response timing. A sample set of mice was tested under a visual stimulus–response paradigm, using E-Prime to compare predicted performance with measured response registration. A representative range of mice technologies was tested alongside a standard keyboard and an E-Prime deluxe response box. The implications for using any response device other than a recognized response box are discussed.

Testing Pointing Device Performance and User Assessment with the IS0 9241, Part 9 Standard
Sarah A. Douglas and Arthur E. Kirkpatrick, I. Scott MacKenzie
Computer and Information Science Dept.
University of Oregon
Dept. of Computing and Information Science
University of Guelph
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Tes ... ssment.pdf
The IS0 9241, Part 9 Draft International Standard for testing computer pointing devices proposes an evaluation of performance and comfort. In this paper we evaluate the scientific validity and practicality of these dimensions for two pointing devices for laptop computers, a finger-controlled isometric joystick and a touchpad. Using a between-subjects design, evaluation of performance using the measure of throughput was done for one-direction and multi-directional pointing and selecting. Results show a significant difference in throughput for the multi-directional task, with the joystick 27% higher; results fm the one- direction task were non-significant. After the experiment, participants rated the device for comfort, including operation, fatigue, and usability. The questionnaire showed no overall difference in the responses, and a significant statistical dBerence in only the question concerning force required to operate the device-the joystick requiring slightly more force. The paper concludes with a discussion of problems in implementing the IS0 standard and recommendations for improvement.

The Trackball Controller: Improving the Analog Stick
Daniel Natapov, I. Scott MacKenzie
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
York University, Toronto, Canada
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/The ... Stick.pdf
Two groups of participants (novice and advanced) completed a study comparing a prototype game controller to a standard game controller for point-select tasks. The prototype game controller replaces the right analog stick of a standard game controller (used for pointing and camera control) with a trackball. We used Fitts’ law as per ISO 9241-9 to evaluate the pointing performance of both controllers. In the novice group, the trackball controller’s throughput was 2.69 bps – 60.1% higher than the 1.68 bps observed for the standard controller. In the advanced group the trackball controller’s throughput was 3.19 bps – 58.7% higher than the 2.01 bps observed for the standard controller. Although the trackball controller performed better in terms of throughput, pointer path was more direct with the standard controller.

Age-Related Differences in Performance with Touchscreens Compared to Traditional Mouse Input
Leah Findlater, Jon E. Froehlich, Kays Fattal, Jacob O. Wobbrock, Tanya Dastyar
College of Information Studies
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Maryland
The Information School
University of Washington
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Tou ... Input.pdf
Despite the apparent popularity of touchscreens for older adults, little is known about the psychomotor performance of these devices. We compared performance between older adults and younger adults on four desktop and touchscreen tasks: pointing, dragging, crossing and steering. On the touchscreen, we also examined pinch-to-zoom. Our results show that while older adults were significantly slower than younger adults in general, the touchscreen reduced this performance gap relative to the desktop and mouse. Indeed, the touchscreen resulted in a significant movement time reduction of 35% over the mouse for older adults, compared to only 16% for younger adults. Error rates also decreased.

Towards a standard for pointing device evaluation, perspectives on 27 years of Fitts’ law research in HCI
R. William Soukoreff, I. Scott MacKenzie
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, York University
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
© 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Tow ... uation.pdf
This paper makes seven recommendations to HCI researchers wishing to construct Fitts’ law models for either movement time prediction, or for the comparison of conditions in an experiment. These seven recommendations support (and in some cases supplement) the methods described in the recent ISO 9241-9 standard on the evaluation of pointing devices. In addition to improving the robustness of Fitts’ law models, these recommendations (if widely employed) will improve the comparability and consistency of forthcoming publications. Arguments to support these recommendations are presented, as are concise reviews of 24 published Fitts’ law models of the mouse, and 9 studies that used the new ISO standard.

User performance with trackball-mice
Poika Isokoski, Roope Raisamo, Benoit Martin, Grigori Evreinov
Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interaction, Department of Computer Sciences,
University of Tampere, Finland
LITA, University Paul Verlaine, Metz, France
© 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Trackball-mice are devices that include both a trackball and a mouse. In this paper we discuss our experiences in building and testing trackball-mouse prototypes. We report four experiments on user performance with the prototypes used as trackball-mice, conventional mice, and in two-handed configuration with a separate trackball for the non-dominant hand. The results show that user performance with the two-handed configuration was better than in one-handed operation of a trackball-mouse and in one-handed operation of a mouse. Trackball-mouse use and conventional mouse use were more evenly matched. However, Trackball-mouse operation involves a skill that most users do not have whereas mouse operation is familiar to most. Therefore, widespread introduction of trackball-mice does not appear to be justified on performance grounds alone. However, trackball-mice can be used as regular mice by ignoring the ball. This makes them compatible with traditional graphical user interfaces while offering two extra degrees of freedom in tasks where they are beneficial.

The Effect of Input Device on User Performance With a Menu-Based Natural Language Interface
J J. Hendrickson, R. D. Williams
Naval Ocean Systems Center, San Diego, California
User Systems Engineering Organization at Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/The ... Device.pdf
Menu-Based Natural Language (MBNL) provides a form of constrained natural language dialogue for human-computer interaclion where natural language words and phrases are displayed on the screen as menu items. Previous research on cursor devices has provided mixed results concerning "the best" cursor device and no firm recommendations were available for use with MBNL interfaces. This study was developed to determine the best inplt device for MBNL interfaces to Naval command and control databases. Results showed that search keys were slower than cursor keys and trackhall. No-scrolling was faster than scrolling. Trackball was preferred, and was more quickly learned than cursor keys.

Generalized Trackball for Surfing Over Surfaces
Luigi Malomo, Paolo Cignoni, Roberto Scopigno
Visual Computing Lab, ISTI - CNR, Italy
University of Pisa, Italy
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Gen ... ckball.pdf
We present an efficient 3D interaction technique: generalizing the well known trackball approach, this technique unifies and blends the two common interaction mechanisms known as panning and orbiting. The approach allows to inspect a virtual object by navigating over its surrounding space, remaining at a chosen distance and performing an automatic panning over its surface. This generalized trackball allows an intuitive navigation of topologically complex shapes, enabling unexperienced users to visit hard-to-reach parts better and faster than with standard GUI components. The approach is based on the construction of multiple smooth approximations of the model under inspection; at rendering time, it constrains the camera to stay at a given distance to these approximations. The approach requires negligible preprocessing and memory overhead and works well for both mouse-based and touch interfaces. An informal user study confirms the impact of the proposed technique.

Evaluating the effect of four different pointing device designs on upper extremity posture and muscle activity during mousing tasks
Michael Y.C. Lin, Justin G. Young, Jack T. Dennerlein
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA
Kettering University, Flint, USA
Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, USA
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/dif ... evices.pdf
The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of different types of computer pointing devices and placements on posture and muscle activity of the hand and arm. A repeated measures laboratory study with 12 adults (6 females, 6 males) was conducted. Participants completed two mouse-intensive tasks while using a conventional mouse, a trackball, a stand-alone touchpad, and a rollermouse. A motion analysis system and an electromyography system monitored right upper extremity postures and muscle activity, respectively. The rollermouse condition was associated with a more neutral hand posture (lower inter-fingertip spread and greater finger flexion) along with significantly lower forearm extensor muscle activity. The touchpad and rollermouse, which were centrally located, were associated with significantly more neutral shoulder postures, reduced ulnar deviation, and lower forearm extensor muscle activities than other types of pointing devices. Users reported the most difficulty using the trackball and touchpad. Rollermouse was not more difficult to use than any other devices. These results show that computer pointing device design and location elicit significantly different postures and forearm muscle activities during use, especially for the hand posture metrics.

Effects of input device and motion type on a cursor-positioning task
Yi-Jan Yau, Sheue-Ling Hwang, Chin-Jung Chao
National Tsing Hua University, Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Sanchong City, Taipei County, Taiwan
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Eff ... device.pdf
Many studies have investigated the performance of using nonkeyboard input devices under static situations, but few of them have considered the effects of motion direction on manipulating these input devices. This study with twelve men compared their performance of using four input devices (three trackballs: currently used, trackman wheel and erectly held trackballs as well as one touch screen) under five motion directions of static, heave, roll, pitch and random movements. The input device and motion direction significantly affected the movement speed and accuracy, and their interaction significantly affected the movement speed. The touch screen was the fastest but the least accurate input device. The erectly held trackball was the slowest, whereas the error rate of the currently used trackball was the lowest. The impairments of the random motion on movement time and error rate were larger than those of other motion directions. Taking the objective and subjective evaluations into account, the trackman wheel and currently used trackball were more efficient for operation than the erectly held trackball and touch screen under the motion environments

Ergonomics of using a mouse or other non-keyboard input device
Valerie Woods, Sarah Hastings, Peter Buckle, Roger Haslam
University of Surrey, Guildford & Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK
© Crown copyright 2002
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Erg ... device.pdf
Findings from a two-year study investigating health problems associated with use of non-keyboard input devices (NKID) are presented. The research used a combination of methods to determine the extent to which different NKID are currently in use, how they are used and problems that result. Evidence was collected through a literature review; questionnaire survey of 128 IT and health and safety managers; workplace assessments involving interviews and observation with 45 users across 9 different companies; a questionnaire survey of 848 users (3500 questionnaires issued, 24% response rate); and laboratory work including an expert assessment of different devices, a laboratory trial comparing traditional and L-shaped desks with three different arm support conditions, and a case study investigating touch screen use.

Is the Trackball a Better Input Device for the Older Computer User?
Alex Chaparro, Michael Bohan, Jeffrey Fernandez, Bheem Kattel, Sang D. Choi
Wichita State University (Department of Psychology, Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, National Institute for Aviation Research), Kansas, USA.
© 1999 Plenum Publishing Corporation
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Is ... r User.pdf
This study investigated age-related differences in user performance and preferences using two widely available computer pointing devices, a mouse and trackball. Participants acquired on-screen targets of varying distance and size using point-and-click and click-and-drag motions. It was found that older adults took longer to complete movements than younger adults and did so to a greater extent for large amplitude movements, but that their movements were less variable. There was no age difference in movement time or variable error between the two devices. It has been hypothesized that the findings reflected the adoption of a device independent movement strategy by the elderly designed to compensate for age-related declines in motor control. Analysis of muscle activity (RMS) of the forearm flexor and extensor showed no age-related differences in muscle activity. Ratings of perceived extertion revealed that older adults reported higher levels of exertion than younger adults using the mouse during click-and-drag motions. In light of findings demonstrating that older adults have lower strength, this finding implies that the mouse requires a greater percentage of the elderlys' maximum force. These results taken together suggest that the trackball may be a better device for the elderly computer user especially when performing frequent, repetitive actions for prolonged periods of time.

Computer mouse and track-ball operation: Similarities and differences in posture, muscular load and perceived exertion
Lena Karlqvist, Eva Bernmark, Lena Ekenvall, Mats Hagberg, Anita Isaksson, Tommy Rostö
Department of Occupational Health, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Ergonomics, National Institute for Working Life, Solna, Sweden
Department of Surgical Sciences K3, Section of Rehabilitation Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
© 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Com ... rences.pdf
Posture (optoelectronic 3D motion analysis system), muscular load (EMG), perceived exertion (rating scales), preference and productivity were investigated in 20 healthy VDU-operators (10 male and 10 female) during text editing with two different data input devices, a mouse and a track-ball. Work with the track-ball entailed lower shoulder elevation and less neck/shoulder muscle activity than work with the mouse. Arm support reduced muscle activity in the neck/shoulder region irrespective of input device used. A table height lower than 3 cm above elbow height allowed arm and shoulder support without undue shoulder elevation. Work with the track-ball entailed more wrist extension than work with the mouse. Perceived exertion ratings were lower for the shoulder and higher for the hand with track-ball than with mouse operation. Thus, biomechanical demands differ between different input devices. The women elevated and rotated their right shoulder outwards more than the men during work with both input devices. The overall EMG results showed a higher activity among the women than among the men in two of the examined muscles. This may relate to anthropometric differences which also influence biomechanical load moments. Another reason could be the observed differences in working techniques between the men and the women.

Design and Evaluation of a Novel Trackball Input Device for Middle-Aged Users
Fong-Gong Wu, Jack Chuang, Chien-Hsu Chen, and Li-Ru Lai
Department of Industrial Design, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Des ... evice .pdf
This study developed two sets of novel trackball input devices operated by two hands with no space constraints, and required a series of experiments. Besides, the performances of the two newly-developed devices are significantly better than both existing trackball input devices in several tasks. However, the results of stability assessment tests show that the ability of a mouse to control the cursor is still greater than all the other devices. In physical observation part, wrist extension and ulnar deviation were measured while using Jack-1 and Jack-2, and showed apparently slighter than all the other devices.

Toolglass and Magic Lenses: The See-Through Interface
Eric A. Bier, Maureen C. Stone, Ken Pier, William Buxton, Tony D. DeRose
Xerox PARC, Palo Alto, CA
University of Toronto
University of Washington
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Too ... erface.pdf
Toolglass widgets are new user interface tools that can appear, as though on a transparent sheet of glass, between an application and a traditional cursor. They can be positioned with one hand while the other positions the cursor. The widgets provide a rich and concise vocabulary for operating on application objects. These widgets may incorporate visual filters, called Magic Lens filters, that modify the presentation of application objects to reveal hidden information, to enhance data of interest, or to suppress distracting information. Together, these tools form a see-through interface that offers many advantages over traditional controls. They provide a new style of interaction that better exploits the user’s everyday skills. They can reduce steps, cursor motion, and errors. Many widgets can be provided in a user interface, by designers and by users, without requiring dedicated screen space. In addition, lenses provide rich context-dependent feedback and the ability to view details and context simultaneously. Our widgets and lenses can be combined to form operation and viewing macros, and can be used over multiple applications.

Evaluation of Mouse, Rare-Controlled Isometric Joystick, Step Keys, and Text Keys for Text Selection on a CRT
Suart K.Card, William K. English, Betty J. Burr
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, California.
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Mou ... p Keys.pdf
Four devices are evaluated with respect to how rapidly they can be used to select text on a CRT display. The mouse is found to be fastest on all counts and also to have the lowest error rates. It is shown that variations in positioning time with the mouse and joystick are accounled for by Fills's Law. In the case of the mouse, the measured Fitts's Law slope constant is close to that found in other eye-hand tasks leading to the conclusion that positioning time with this device is almost the minimal achievable. Positioning time for key devices is shown to be poportional to the number of keystrokes which must be typed.

Pointing Device Performance in Steering Tasks
Ransalu Senanayake, Ravindra S. Goonetilleke
Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Industrial Engineering and Logistics Management,
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong
https://trackballs.eu/media/library/Poi ... _Tasks.pdf
Use of touch-screen-based interactions is growing rapidly. Hence, knowing the maneuvering efficacy of touch screens relative to other pointing devices is of great importance in the context of graphical user interfaces. Movement time, accuracy, and user preferences of four pointing device settings were evaluated on a computer with 14 participants aged 20.1±3.13 years. It was found that, depending on the difficulty of the task, the optimal settings differ for ballistic and visual control tasks. With a touch screen, resting the arm increased movement time for steering tasks. When both performance and comfort are considered, whether to use a mouse or a touch screen for person–computer interaction depends on the steering difficulty. Hence, a input device should be chosen based on the application, and should be optimized to match the graphical user interface.

Advantages of Magnetic Mice over Trackballs as input devices on moving platforms
Stefan Röttger, Saskia Vetter, Sören Ollhoff
German Naval Medical Institute, Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, Germany
Advantages of Magnetic Mice over Trackb ... tforms.pdf
Although ergonomic studies show that cursor control with a computer mouse is faster and sometimes more accurate than cursor control with a trackball, trackballs are the standard input device for cursor movements on many moving platforms such as airplanes and ships. One reason for this is that trackballs can be fixed to the workstation, which prevents involuntary cursor movements that could otherwise be induced by movements of the platform. In this study, standard trackballs and computer mice with magnetic adhesion to the mouse pad were evaluated by 18 sailors of the German Navy after 26 days of computer operation on their moving ship. Results show that users of magnetic mice performed better and showed less muscular fatigue than trackball users. Thus, magnetic mice should be considered as the standard input device on moving platforms.