Homework 1: Evaluate Pointing Devices

Assigned: Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022; Due Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 at 1:25pm ET

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


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. Students will enter the devices they will evaluate into a GoogleDoc, and run the Fitts Law Test using our web app.

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. (Note that you need to be using your CMU Andrew Google account to access this.)

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

Extra points on this assignment for doing a third or more devices! Also extra points if you are doing an "interesting" device.

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!

Preference and Demographic Questionnaire

You should create a simple (paper if in person or Google Forms) 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 report below), experience with computers and experience with the devices you are using. Then, you should have question(s) about their preferences between the devices they used and why. You need to include a blank copy of the questionnaire with your report so we can see what you asked.

Test Software

The TA for this year (Chaoran Chen) and last time (Asit Parida), along with the professor, have created a version of the standard pointing test software for the web. You will be able to run the software from any web-enabled device that can run a browser that supports Javascript (probably not a watch!). The software will display the targets to tap on and record the times. You will perform the test with one practice trial, followed by 16 real trials of 15 taps each 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.)

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 dots. It is not valid to use two fingers, tapping with different fingers on different dots.

The instructions for the test software are here:
which includes the link to the web page with the web app.


The deliverable for this homework is a written report. We expect it to be maybe about 4-5 pages (not including figures or the copy of the questionnaire), single-spaced in TimesRoman 12 point font. Create a pdf of this report, and upload it to Canvas before class on the due date.

Be sure your name is on the first page of your report and in the file name! Your pdf file should be named: lastname_firstname_ixt22_hw1.pdf. For example, mine would be: myers_brad_ixt22_hw1.pdf.

The report should have the following sections. (Note that you should use this as a template using these section names):


The various parts of this homework will be calculated as follows, so you know how much each part is worth: