COSC 341 Human Computer Interaction: Course Project
In this human computer interaction course project, two experiments were performed to test the speed efficiency of traditional GUI elements, compared to elements which are theoretically more efficient. As expected, it was found that circular context menus are more efficient than rectangular ones. Static/dynamic hybrid menus provide more convenience than only static menus, as well as more familiarity than only dynamic ones. The two experiment interfaces were implemented as full screen programs written in Java.
Static vs Dynamic Menu Bars
An experiment was performed comparing traditional static menus to dynamically arranged ones, in which the menu items are rearranged according to usage frequency. The subject user would click the button in the center of the screen, receive an item request at the bottom, find and click the requested item in the menus, and then repeat this sequence a number of times. This process was performed twice, for both static menus and dynamically arranging menus.
As the user became familiar with the locations of items in the static menus, their performance increased over time. As expected, the dynamically rearranging menus performed similar at the beginning of the test, as the menus were ordered the same as the static ones. However, as the menus rearrange so that the most frequently selected items are at the top, the user must search for each requested item every time, reducing performance.
This test was inherently flawed, due to menu sorting by item selection frequency providing no benefit to random item selection. However, in normal application use, certain menu items are definitely used more frequently than others. Therefore, a combination of both menu types will provide the most benefit and convenience for the user. The top three to five most used items can be located at the top of the menu, with a complete static list of items located below them. This allows for quick access to the most common items, while also allowing for a static list of all menu elements which the user can memorize over time.
Rectangular vs Circular Context Menus
This experiment compared the time efficiency of using circular tool selection, as opposed to a traditional rectangular tool selection box, for a right-click context menu. At the top of the screen, a message directs the user to draw a specific colored shape. The user must change the color and size of the drawing tool with the right-click context menu, draw the requested shape, and then press the submit button at the bottom. As expected, the circular option does perform better than the rectangular one, due to all the items being closer to the mouse when the tool selection is opened with right-click.