Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spotted: CommandMaps -- an alternative to menus and toolbars

These sound kinda like icon arrays on mobiles, exploiting spatial memory. 

Improving command selection with CommandMaps

Joey Scarr, Andy Cockburn, Carl Gutwin, Andrea Bunt

Designers of GUI applications typically arrange commands in hierarchical structures, such as menus, due to screen space limitations. However, hierarchical organisations are known to slow down expert users. This paper proposes the use of spatial memory in combination with hierarchy flattening as a means of improving GUI performance. We demonstrate these concepts through the design of a command selection interface, called CommandMaps, and analyse its theoretical performance characteristics. We then describe two studies evaluating CommandMaps against menus and Microsoft's Ribbon interface for both novice and experienced users.

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