Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 231, Issue 3, pp 367–379 | Cite as

A model for combined targeting and tracking tasks in computer applications

  • Ransalu Senanayake
  • Errol R. Hoffmann
  • Ravindra S. GoonetillekeEmail author
Research Article


Current models for targeted-tracking are discussed and shown to be inadequate as a means of understanding the combined task of tracking, as in the Drury’s paradigm, and having a final target to be aimed at, as in the Fitts’ paradigm. It is shown that the task has to be split into components that are, in general, performed sequentially and have a movement time component dependent on the difficulty of the individual component of the task. In some cases, the task time may be controlled by the Fitts’ task difficulty, and in others, it may be dominated by the Drury’s task difficulty. Based on an experiment carried out that captured movement time in combinations of visually controlled and ballistic movements, a model for movement time in targeted-tracking was developed.


Targeted-tracking Fitts’ law Steering law Movement time 


  1. Accot J, Zhai S (1997) Beyond Fitts’ law: models for trajectory-based HCI tasks. In: CHI 1997, proceedings of ACM conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 295–302. doi: 10.1145/258549.258760
  2. Blinch J, Cameron BD, Hodges NJ, Chua R (2012) Do preparation or control processes result in the modulation to Fitts’ law for movements to targets with placeholders? Exp Brain Res 223:505–515. doi: 10.1007/s00221-012-3277-3 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bollen KA, Jackman RW (1990) Regression diagnostics: an expository treatment of outliers and influential cases. In: Fox J, Long JS (eds) Modern methods of data analysis. Sage, Newbury Park, pp 257–291Google Scholar
  4. Dennerlein JT, Martin DB, Hasser C (2000) Force-feedback improves performance for steering and combined steering-targeting tasks. In: CHI 2000, proceedings SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, The Hague, The Netherlands, pp 423–429. doi: 10.1145/332040.332469
  5. Drury C (1971) Movements with lateral constraint. Ergonomics 14:293–305. doi: 10.1080/00140137108931246 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fitts P (1954) The information capacity of the human motor system in controlling the amplitude of movement. J Exp Psychol 47:381–391PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fitts PM, Peterson JR (1964) Information capacity of discrete motor responses. J Exp Psychol 67:103–112PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gan K-C, Hoffmann ER (1988) Geometrical conditions for ballistic and visually-controlled movements. Ergonomics 31:829–839. doi: 10.1080/00140138808966724 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hick WE (1952) On the rate of gain of information. J Exp Psychol 4:11–26. doi: 10.1080/17470215208416600 Google Scholar
  10. Hoffmann ER (1981) An ergonomic approach to predetermined motion time systems. In: Proceedings of the 9th national conference, Institute of Industrial Engineers, Australia. Singapore, pp 30–47Google Scholar
  11. Hoffmann ER (2009) Review of models for restricted-path movements. Int J Ind Ergonom 39:578–589. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2008.02.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hoffmann ER (2013) Which version/variation of Fitts’ law? A critique of information-theory models. J Motor Behav 45:205–215. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2013.778815 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hoffmann ER, Lim JTA (1997) Concurrent manual-decision tasks. Ergonomics 40:293–318. doi: 10.1080/001401397188161 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hong S-K, Ryu S (2007) Human performance model for combined steering-targeting tasks. In: EPCE’07, proceedings of the 7th international conference on engineering psychology and cognitive ergonomics, pp 306–315Google Scholar
  15. Jax SA, Roosenbaum DA, Vaughan J (2007) Extending Fitts’ Law to manual obstacle avoidance. Exp Brain Res 180:775–779. doi: 10.1007/s00221-007-0996-y PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnson RA, Wichern DW (2007) Applied multivariate statistical analysis, 4th edn. Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey, pp 187–191Google Scholar
  17. Kulikov S, Stuerzlinger W (2006) Targeted steering motions. In: CHI EA ‘06 CHI ‘06, extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, Montreal, Canada. doi: 10.1145/1125451.1125640
  18. Kvalseth TO (1973) Fitts’ law for manipulative temporal motor responses with and without path constraints. Percept Mot Skills 37:427–431PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kvalseth TO (1975) Note on Fitts’ law for manipulative temporal motor responses with path constraints. Percept Mot Skills 40:411–414PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kvalseth TO (1977) A generalised model of temporal motor control subject to movement constraints. Ergonomics 20:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kvalseth TO (1978) Quantitative models of motor responses subject to longitudinal, lateral and preview constraints. Hum Factors 20:35–39PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Leong CKW, Hoffmann ER, Good MC (2011) Ballistic movements on data-entry keypads. Int J Ind Ergonom 41:180–190. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2011.01.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Macuga KL, Papailiou AP, Frey SH (2012) Motor imagery of tool use: relationship to actual use and adherence to Fitts’ law across tasks. Exp Brain Res 218:169–179. doi: 10.1007/s00221-012-3004-0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meyer DE, Abrams RA, Kornblum S, Wright CE, Smith JEK (1988) Optimality in human motor performance: ideal control of rapid aimed movements. Psychol Rev 95:340–370. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.95.3.340 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Thibbotuwawa N, Hoffmann ER, Goonetilleke RS (2012) Open-loop and feedback-controlled mouse cursor movements in linear paths. Ergonomics 55:476–488. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2011.644587 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Vaughan J, Barany DA, Sali AW, Jax SA, Rosenbaum DA (2010) Extending Fitts’ Law to three-dimensional obstacle-avoidance movements: support for the posture-based motion planning model. Exp Brain Res 207:133–138. doi: 10.1007/s00221-010-2431-z PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Vaughan J, Barany DA, Rios T (2012) The cost of moving with the left hand. Exp Brain Res 220:11–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ransalu Senanayake
    • 1
  • Errol R. Hoffmann
    • 1
  • Ravindra S. Goonetilleke
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering and Logistics ManagementHong Kong University of Science and TechnologyClear Water BayHong Kong

Personalised recommendations