Beating Fitt’s Law

Howdy!

This article is my reflection on the research paper titled ‘Beating the Fitt’s Law‘ by Ravin Balakrishnan. The author presents a research about artificially facilitating pointing of the screen cursor to graphical elements (targets) thereby extending the application Fitt’s law to the virtual space. The Fitt’s law as described below says that the Movement Time (MT) to acquire an object is directly proportional to the Width (W) of the object and inversely proportional to the Distance (D) through the object. This research aims to apply Fitt’s law to the virtual space by categorizing the equation into three cases:
1. Reducing Distance D
2. Increasing Width W of the object and
3. Reducing Distance D and Increasing Width W of the object.

Fitt's Law
Fitt’s Law

Millions of people use computers on a daily basis for manifold purposes like computation, banking, web surfing and entertainment. This gives rise to continuous movement of mouse and in turn the human hand. On an average, the normal computer users spend 10 * 60 * 60 = 36,000 seconds per day using the computer. Out of which, 5 * 60 * 10 = 3000 seconds (average) is spent on pointing the mouse to the target. So if we could reduce it even by one sec (1* 60 * 10 = 600 seconds), we could save the unnecessary cursor movement by 10 mins per day, an hour per week and 60 complete hours every year. You could have enjoyed a whole week of thanksgiving with those extra leaves!

I think facilitating the pointing is a potential opportunity for application and optimization of Fitt’s law in the virtual space. I particularly liked the method of Expanding targets and thus Facilitating pointing by primarily increasing the width (size) of the target. This helps the user in quickly accessing the target and could be a boon for older adults with near sighted problems, as it maximizes the graphical element. One of the challenges the methodology could face is to minimize the distraction caused due to the unnecessary animation (expanding) of the objects. This could be absolutely necessary for websites which are mostly used for reading and writing purposes like http://www.wsj.com & http://www.techcrunch.com and news websites like http://www.quora.com, http://www.medium.com.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! 🙂

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