This is an version of the course. Please go to the 2016 page instead!
Homework 1: Evaluate Pointing Devices
Assigned Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, due: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014
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. 3, 2014. 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.
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:
- Various "gain ratios" on mouse settings
- Laptop touchpad from various laptops:
- IBM Pointing Stick on Thinkpad laptops
- Finger touch:
- iPhone (of various sizes) - touch with finger
- Android phone (of various sizes) - touch with finger
- Windows Mobile phone - touch with finger
- iPad (of various sizes) - touch with finger
- Android tablet (of various sizes) - touch with finger
- Windows Surface Tablet
- Touch with Stylus (pointer)
- Smartphone / Tablet - touch with stylus, like the Samsung Galaxy Note
- Wii controller pointer in the air, pointing at a web page on a "smart TV"
- Microsoft Kinect using your hand to point at a web page on a "smart TV"
- Large "Smart Board" direct touch wall-size display
- Game controller connected to a PC to control the cursor
- etc. -- what other pointing devices can you get access to?
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!
- Yourself -- you should use the two pointing devices and time yourself.
- Someone who is like you - for example, another student, but not anyone in the class.
- Someone who is not like you - for example, someone your parent's age, a child, someone with little or no computer skills, etc.
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: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/uicourse/2014inter/fittslaw/
(Please let the TA know of any bugs or issues with the software.)
Be sure to run your device so 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. Similarly, if using a regular computer, maximize the browser window so it takes up most of the screen.
When the test is done, the software will display the results, which you should copy and paste into the class's GoogleDoc form, and also use the results in your own analysis for your report.
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:
- A detailed description of your two
pointing devices. This should be sufficient to allow the reader to reproduce your test exactly. For example, if doing a mouse, what brand and model number? What mouse settings did you use on the computer? What browser did you use to run the test? If doing a Smartphone, what exact screen resolution and screen size (diagonal)? (For example, you can often find these by searching Google for "screen resolution" -- e.g., Apple says the "Display" on the iPhone 5s is: "4-inch (diagonal) Retina display /
1136-by-640 resolution /
326 ppi"). Also include the measured width and height that you entered into the on-line program. It would also be great to include photos of your actual devices in your report.
- A detailed description of your users. (Note: not their names!) Describe all the relevant demographic characteristics, like their experience with computers, their experience with devices you used, whether they are left-handed or right-handed (and if left-handed, did they use their left hands -- many left-handed people still use computers right-handed), etc.
- A detailed description of the environment in which you did the test. In particular, were the subjects seated at a desk, standing, at a table? If a phone or tablet, was it on the table or in their hands? (You could even test both if you want and see if there is a difference.) Also include the order of the devices used for each user.
- Then present your results: what is the measured speed and accuracy of your devices for your users? Present the actual measured results and the averages for each device across the users, etc. Which device was fastest? Which was the most accurate? How did the speed and accuracy change with respect to distance and target size? Which did the subjects prefer and why? Was there any effect of the order in which people used the devices (did it seem like there was a learning effect happening)?
- Optional: If you are interested, you can try the Fitts evaluation like was done in the Card paper mentioned below, and as explained in lecture 3. Here is the spreadsheet Jeff used in class for the analysis.
- Next in your report, have a discussion section that shows that you have command of the following topics from the class syllabus, with respect to the pointing devices you studied:
- The design issues regarding the different pointing devices, especially the trade-offs among them.
- Evaluate the pointing devices using the appropriate tests for performance. What did your tests show? Were the tests you used the right ones? What did the tests miss (not measure)?
- Describe the historical progression of pointing devices and the factors that impacted their evolution and eventual widespread adoption. In particular, compare and contrast your results with the results reported in the following two references for other pointing devices.
- Brad A. Myers, Rishi Bhatnagar, Jeffrey Nichols, Choon Hong Peck, Dave Kong, Robert Miller, and A. Chris Long. "Interacting At a Distance: Measuring the Performance of Laser Pointers and Other Devices." Proceedings CHI'2002: Human Factors in Computing Systems. Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 20-25, 2002. pp. 33-40. pdf.
- Card, S.K., English, W.K., & Burr, B.J.
Evaluation of mouse, rate-controlled isometric joystick,
step keys, and text keys for text selection on
a CRT. Ergonomics, 21(8), pp. 601-613. 1978. pdf
- Finally, you can optionally have section of future work, for example, if you have any ideas for new studies, or improved pointing devices or pointing techniques.
- Include a blank copy of your questionnaire (just like it was given to the participants) in an appendix.