Thesis

Computer input device selection for non-dominant hand use

This study was conducted to determine the effect of hand used and input task on input device selection. Forty-two right handed subjects were tested on both hands, across three input tasks: selection, position and orientation. Input device was used as a between subjects variable with an equal number of subjects carrying out the tasks with a mechanical mouse, trackball or graphics tablet. Of the three input devices tested in this experiment the graphics tablet allowed the fastest data entry. Performance on the graphics tablet was equal to or better than either the mouse or trackball on every task with either hand. Performance with the trackball and mouse was nearly equal on all the tasks, with either hand. Methodological limitations in this study made it difficult to assess the effects of hand used on input device. Further investigation is necessary before any firm conclusions can be reached. The variable that measured which direction the subject had to look from the target object to find the test object (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) entered into a three way interaction with hand and input device on the selection task. Analysis of the data showed most of the difference occurred in the left hand results. The left hand trackball users did equally well in each direction, while the mouse users did best on diagonal movements, worst on vertical and the graphics tablet users did best on horizontal movements but showed no difference for diagonal or vertical movements. The implications and limitations of this studies results are discussed and recommendations for future research are made.

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