Proceedings: GI + CHI 1987

A comparison of rule-based and positionally constant arrangements of computer menu items

Benjamin Somberg

Proceedings of the SIGCHI/GI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and Graphics Interface: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 5 - 9 April 1987, 255-260

DOI 10.1145/29933.275639

  • BibTex

    @inproceedings{Somberg:1987:10.1145/29933.275639,
    author = {Somberg, Benjamin},
    title = {A comparison of rule-based and positionally constant arrangements of computer menu items},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the SIGCHI/GI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and Graphics Interface},
    series = {GI + CHI 1987},
    year = {1987},
    issn = {0713-5425},
    isbn = {0-89791-213-6},
    location = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},
    pages = {255--260},
    numpages = {6},
    doi = {10.1145/29933.275639},
    acmdoi = {10.1145/29933.275639},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    }

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to evaluate user performance under four different menu item arrangements: alphabetic, probability of selection (most popular choices are positioned near the beginning of the list), random, and positionally constant (consistent assignment of individual items to screen positions). During the initial stages of practice, the rule-based approaches produced faster mean search times, but after moderate amounts of practice, the positionally constant arrangement appeared to be most efficient. People seem to remember quite easily the location of items on a display, indicating that positional constancy can be an important factor in increasing the efficiency of the search of computer menus and other displays.