Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 280–290 | Cite as

Why are eye mice unpopular? A detailed comparison of head and eye controlled assistive technology pointing devices

Special issue on countering design exclusion


This paper examines and compares the usability problems associated with eye-based and head-based assistive technology pointing devices when used for direct manipulation on a standard graphical user interface. It discusses and examines the pros and cons of eye-based pointing in comparison to the established assistive technology technique of head-based pointing and illustrates the usability factors responsible for the apparent low usage or ‘unpopularity’ of eye-based pointing. It shows that user experience and target size on the interface are the predominant factors affecting eye-based pointing and suggests that these could be overcome to enable eye-based pointing to be a viable and available direct manipulation interaction technique for the motor-disabled community.


Eye tracking Eye mouse Head mouse Assistive technology Computer input devices 


  1. 1.
    Bates R (1999) Multimodal eye-based interaction for zoomed target selection on a standard graphical user interface. Proceedings of Interact’99, vol II. British Computer Society, pp 7–8 Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bates R, Bierton R (2000) Experimental determination of quantifiers for usability questionnaire design. In: Proceedings of human-computer interaction 2000, vol II. British Computer Society, pp 57–58 Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bates R, Istance HO (2002) Zooming interfaces! Enhancing the performance of eye controlled pointing devices. In: Proceedings of ASSETS 2002, the fifth international ACM SIGCAPH conference on assistive technologies, 8–10 July 2002, Edinburgh Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bevan N, Kirakowski J, Maissel J (1991) What is usability? In: Human aspects in computing: design and use of interactive systems and work with terminals. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bierton R, Bates R (2000) Experimental determination of optimal scales for usability questionnaire design. In: Proceedings of human-computer interaction 2000, vol II. British Computer Society, pp 55–56 Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Carpenter RHS (1991) Eye movements. MacMillan Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Edwards G (1998) New Software makes eye tracking viable: You can control computers with your eyes. In: Proceedings of CSUN conference on technology and persons with disabilities 1998, California State University, Northridge Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Evans G, Blenkhorn P (1999) A head operated joystick – experience with use. In: Proceedings of the CSUN conference on technology and persons with disabilities 1999, California State University, Northridge Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hart SG, Staveland LE (1988) Development of the NASA-tlx (task load index): results of empirical and theoretical research. In: Human mental workload. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 139–183 Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Prentke Romich Company, HeadMaster Plus Head Mouse. http://store.prentrom.com/Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Origin Instruments, HeadMouse. http://www.orin.com/access/Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jacob RJK (1991) The use of eye movements in human-computer interaction techniques: what you look at is what you get. ACM Transactions on information systems, 9(3):152–169 Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jacob RJK (1995) Eye tracking in advanced interface design. In: Advanced interface design and virtual environments. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 258–288 Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jagacinski RJ, Monk DL (1985) Fitts’ law in two dimensions with hand and head movements. J Mot Behav 17:77–95 Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    LoPresti E, Brienza DM, Angelo J, Gilbertson L (2000) Computer head controls: ergonomics and effect of neck movement limitations. In: Proceedings of CSUN 15th annual conference on technology and persons with disabilities, California State University, Northridge Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    LoPresti E, Brienza DM, Angelo J, Gilbertson L, Sakai J (2000) Neck range of motion and use of computer head controls. Proceedings of Assets 2000: the fourth international ACM conference on assistive technologies, pp 121–128 Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    MacKenzie IS, Kauppinen T, Silfverberg M (2001) Accuracy measures for evaluating computer pointing devices. In: Proceedings of CHI 2001, ACM Press, New York Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    MacKenzie IS (1992) Fitts’ law as a research and design tool in human-computer interaction. Hum-Comput Interact 7:91–139 Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Macleod M, Bowden R, Bevan N, Curson I (1997) The MUSiC performance measurement method. In: Behaviour and information technology 16(4/5):279–293, Crown, New York Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Polhemus Incorporated, 40 Hercules Drive, P.O. Box 560, Colchester, VT 05446, USA. www.polhemus.com Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Prentke Romich Company, 1022 Heyl Road, Wooster, OH 44691, USA. www.wivik.com Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Saito S (1992) Does fatigue exist in a quantitative measurement of eye movements? Ergonomics 35(5/6):607–615 Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Salvucci DD, Anderson JR (2000) Intelligent gaze-added interfaces. In: Proceedings of CHI 2000, vol 2, ACM Press, pp 273–280 Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sibert LE, Jacob RJK (2000) Evaluation of eye gaze interaction. In: Proceedings of CHI 2000, vol 2. ACM Press, pp 281–288 Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH (SMI), Warthestrasse 21, D-14513 Teltow/Berlin, Germany. www.smi.de Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Smith WJ (1996) ISO and ANSI ergonomic standards for computer products: a guide to implementation and compliance. Prentice-Hall, New York Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Szczur M (1994) Usability testing – on a budget: a NASA usability test case study. Behav Informat Technol 13(1/2):106–118 Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Boost Technology, Tracer HeadMouse. http://www.boosttechnology.com/Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Velichkovsky B, Sprenger A, Unema P (1997) Towards gaze mediated interaction: collecting solutions of the “midas touch” problem. In: Human-computer interaction: INTERACT’97, Chapman & Hall, New York Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Virzi RA (1992) Refining the test phase of usability evaluation: How many subjects is enough? Hum Factors 34(4):457–468 Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ware C, Mikaelian HH (1987) An evaluation of an eye tracker as a device for computer input. In: Proceedings of CHI 1987, ACM Press, pp 183–188 Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Yarbus AL (1967) Eye movements and vision. Plenum, New York Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Zhai S, Morimoto C, Ihde S (1999) Manual and gaze input cascaded (MAGIC) pointing. In: Proceedings of CHI 1999, ACM Press, pp 246–253Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human-Computer Interaction Research GroupDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

Personalised recommendations