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Effects of target expansion on selection performance in older computer users

Hwang, F. ORCID:, Hollinworth, N. and Williams, N. (2013) Effects of target expansion on selection performance in older computer users. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, 5 (1). 1. ISSN 1936-7236

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1145/2514848


Point and click interactions using a mouse are an integral part of computer use for current desktop systems. Compared with younger users though, older adults experience greater difficulties performing cursor positioning tasks, and this can present limitations to using a computer easily and effectively. Target expansion is a technique for improving pointing performance, where the target dynamically grows as the cursor approaches. This has the advantage that targets conserve screen real estate in their unexpanded state, yet can still provide the benefits of a larger area to click on. This paper presents two studies of target expansion with older and younger participants, involving multidirectional point-select tasks with a computer mouse. Study 1 compares static versus expanding targets, and Study 2 compares static targets with three alternative techniques for expansion. Results show that expansion can improve times by up to 14%, and reduce error rates by up to 50%. Additionally, expanding targets are beneficial even when the expansion happens late in the movement, i.e. after the cursor has reached the expanded target area or even after it has reached the original target area. Participants’ subjective feedback on the target expansion are generally favorable, and this lends further support for the technique.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Department of Bio-Engineering
ID Code:33504
Uncontrolled Keywords:Older adults, expanding targets, expansion, computer mouse, target selection, point and click
Publisher:Association for Computing Machinery


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