A pointing device plays an important role in human-computer interaction. The computer mouse is a convenient device for both pointing and steering. The literature related to the effect of mouse gain on steering tasks is scarce. An experiment was conducted with 10 participants and each participant was asked to traverse a constrained path using a computer mouse. There were three levels of gain approximately equal to 2.3, 10, and 15. The experiment had 11 levels of difficulty (D/P) based on path width (P) and path length (D) and three trials for each combination of D and P. Performance was evaluated using movement time taken to traverse the path. The results showed that movement time is minimized, in feedback-controlled steering tasks, at a gain of around nine.


Pointing devices Mouse Gain Drury’s Law Steering Law 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Engelbart, D.C.: X-Y Position indicator for a display system. US Patent 3,541,541 (1967)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Johnson, J., Roberts, T.L., Verplank, W., Smith, D.C., Irby, C.H., Beard, M., Mackey, K.: The Xerox Star: a retrospective. Computer 22, 11–26 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fitts, P.M.: The information capacity of the human motor system in controlling the amplitude of movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology 47, 381–391 (1954)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Soukoreff, R.W., MacKenzie, I.S.: Towards a standard for pointing device evaluation, perspectives on 27 years of Fitts’ law research in HCI 61, 751–789 (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    MacKenzie, I.S.: Fitts’ law as a research and design tool in human-computer interaction. Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 7, 91–139 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Drury, C.G.: Movements with lateral constraint. Ergonomics 14, 293–305 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Accot, J., Zhai, S., Belin, A.E.: Beyond Fitts’ law: models for trajectory-based HCI tasks. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 295–302. ACM, New York (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Thibbotuwawa, N., Goonetilleke, R.S., Hoffmann, E.R.: Constrained path tracking at varying angles in a mouse tracking task. Human Factors 54, 138–150 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Thibbotuwawa, N., Hoffmann, E.R., Goonetilleke, R.S.: Open-loop and feedback-controlled mouse cursor movements in linear paths. Ergonomics 55, 476–488 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hoffmann, E.R.: Review of models for restricted-path movements. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 39, 578–589 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Drury, C.G., Daniels, E.B.: Performance limitations in laterally constrained movements. Ergonomics 18, 389–395 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gibbs, C.B.: Controller design: Interactions of controlling limbs, time-lags, and gains in positional and velocity systems. Ergonomics 5, 385–402 (1962)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Buck, L.: Motor performance in relation to control-display gain and target width. Ergonomics 23, 579–589 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Arnaut, L.Y., Greenstein, J.S.: Is display/control gain a useful metric for optimizing an interface? Human Factors 32, 651–663 (1990)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jellinek, H.D., Card, S.K.: Powermice and user performance. In: CHI 1990 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 213–220. ACM, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Accot, J., Zhai, S.: Scale Effects in Steering Law Tasks. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1–8. ACM, New York (2001)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ransalu Senanayake
    • 1
  • Ravindra S. Goonetilleke
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Industrial Engineering and Logistics ManagementHong Kong University of Science and TechnologyClear Water BayHong Kong

Personalised recommendations