Information-Theoretic Analysis of Human Performance for Command Selection

  • Wanyu LiuEmail author
  • Olivier Rioul
  • Michel Beaudouin-Lafon
  • Yves Guiard
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10515)


Selecting commands is ubiquitous in current GUIs. While a number of studies have focused on improving rapid command selection through novel interaction techniques, new interface design and innovative devices, user performance in this context has received little attention. Inspired by a recent study which formulated information-theoretic hypotheses to support experimental results on command selection, we aim at explaining user performance from an information-theoretic perspective. We design an ad-hoc command selection experiment for information-theoretic analysis, and explain theoretically why the transmitted information from the user to the computer levels off as difficulty increases. Our reasoning is based on basic information-theoretic concepts such as entropy, mutual information and Fano’s inequality. This implies a bell-shaped behavior of the throughput and therefore an optimal level of difficulty for a given input technique.


Human performance Command selection Information theory Mutual information Entropy Throughput Fano’s inequality 



This research was partially funded by Labex DigiCosme (ANR-11-LABEX-0045-DIGICOSME), operated by the French Agence Nationale de la Reche-rche (ANR) as part of the program “Investissement d’Avenir” Idex Paris-Saclay (ANR-11-IDEX-0003-02), and by European Research Council (ERC) grant n\(^\circ \) 695464 ONE: Unified Principles of Interaction.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wanyu Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Olivier Rioul
    • 1
  • Michel Beaudouin-Lafon
    • 2
  • Yves Guiard
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.LTCI, Telecom ParisTech, Université Paris-SaclayParisFrance
  2. 2.LRI, Univ. Paris-Sud, CNRS, Inria, Université Paris-SaclayOrsayFrance

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