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Mobile Interaction Design Patterns Poster
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Paul M. Fitts (1912–1965) was a psychologist at both Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. 1n 1954, he created a mathematical formula to determine the relationship for how long it takes a user to either select an object on the screen or physically touching it, based on its target size and distance from the selector’s starting point.
Fitts’s Law is widely used today by UX designers, human factors specialists, and engineers when designing graphical user interfaces and comparing performance of various input devices. Fitts’s Law finds that:
- The time required to move to a target is a function of the target size and distance to the target.
- The farther a target object is from the initial starting position will require a longer time to make that successful selection.
- That time can be increased when the target size is too small.
In mobile devices, we know that screen display size is limited and its space is valuable. In addition, mobile users require quick access to the content they are looking for. Using Fitts’s Law together with these constraints can improve the user experience:
- Buttons and selectable controls should be an appropriate size because it is relatively difficult to click on small ones. Using the screen bezel overflow can provide a trick for allowing smaller, yet highly selectable targets . For mouse or other pointer-driven systems, the edge of a selectable area becomes “infinitely” deep, so the selectable area is functionally much larger. For touch devices with a flat bezel, the user may place part of his finger off the screen and activate a much smaller target than usual. Refer to the section “General Touch Interaction Guidelines” in Appendix D.
- Pop-ups and tooltips can usually be opened or activated faster than pull-down menus since the user avoids travel.
- Reduce the number of clicks to access content by providing surface-level sorting and filtering controls to access indexed information quickly.
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