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Homework 1: Evaluate Pointing Devices

For 05-440/05-640: Interaction Techniques, Spring, 2016

Assigned Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, due: Monday, Feb. 1, 2016

Be sure to see the policies for grading, late turn-in, cheating etc, on the homework policy page.

NOTE: TURN IN THIS ASSIGNMENT IN HARDCOPY IN CLASS on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Please print out your entire report on paper, staple it together, and bring it to class. (If you have to miss class for any reason, you can turn in your hardcopy in advance in my office, NSH 3517, or if necessary, upload your assignment to Blackboard to demonstrate that you have it done on time.) Be sure your name is on your report!

In this assignment, each student will evaluate two (2) different pointing devices using three (3) different people, and write up a report on the results.

Pointing Devices:

Each student will choose two (2) different pointing devices. We hope that we can get good coverage of all of the kinds of pointing devices that are currently in use, with approximately the same number of people doing each one. If you have an "interesting" way of doing pointing, please use that as one of your devices. The assignment of people to devices will be in this GoogleDoc.

For example, here are some pointing devices to pick from:

Extra points on this assignment for doing a third or more devices!

Everyone enter the devices you will do here.


Every student should test three (3) people:

Extra points on this assignment for testing a fourth or more people!

Test Software

The professor and TA are creating a version of the standard pointing test software for the web. You will be able to run the software from any web-enabled device. The software by default will display the targets to tap on and record the times. You will perform the test the recommended number of practice trials, followed by the recommended number of real trials with each device. For your three people, use both orders (have some people use one device first, and the other people use the other device first). (If you do extra devices, then still have everyone do all the devices, with different orders for the different people.)

Run the software from here:
(Please let the TA know of any bugs or issues with the software.)

Be sure to orient the screen of your device so that the longer dimension is horizontal. That is, it should be wider than it is tall, also called “landscape” orientation—sideways for phones. Be sure to put the wider dimension into the “width” field of the form. Measure the screen dimensions, not the input device (for example, touchpad) dimensions. Additionally if using a regular computer, maximize the browser window so that it fills the entire screen.

Also be sure that participants only use one (1) finger for touch devices. That is, the participants must move their one finger back and forth between the bars. It is not valid to use two fingers, one for each bar.

After the test is finished, the software will display the results including two columns for each condition (each width × amplitude size pair). When running on a phone or other small device, some conditions are skipped since they are too wide to fit on a small screen. The results will report “too big” in the columns for these conditions. For example, the 2cm × 8cm (width × amplitude) condition requires a 10cm wide screen. Some phones, such as many iPhones, are only 8+cm wide, so the condition will not fit on the screen. Similarly, the 1cm × 8cm condition will not fit on a 8cm screen either.

Please select the data row of the table of the results and copy it, and paste that row into the class's GoogleDoc spreadsheet. Note: copy just the data row, not the headers. Also note that the table of numbers is quite wide, so be sure to get all of data cells.It is fine to copy and paste the “too big” entries to the spreadsheet just like the other entries, so you can still just copy and paste the whole row of results, even if some of the columns say "too big".

Paste your results into this form on GoogleDoc.

Preference and Demographic Questionnaire

You should create a simple (paper) questionnaire to give each of your subjects (including yourself!) to be filled out at the end after doing all the tasks. It should ask basic demographic information (see below), experience with computers and experience with the devices you are using. Then, you should have question(s) about their preferences and why. You need to include a blank copy of the questionnaire with your report so we can see what you asked.


The deliverable for this homework is a written report. We expect it to be maybe about 3-4 pages (not including figures or the copy of the questionnaire), single-spaced in TimesRoman 12 point font. Print this report and turn it in before class on the due data. Be sure your name is on your report! The report should have the following sections: