A Z-Talk by Felipe Torres, as reported by Alejandra Molano
Size matters. At least when you talk about user interface design, size plays a really important role. It’s all about user experience, and when it is well taken into account, size makes it a lot easier.
Fitts’s law, a very successful and well-studied model suggested by Paul Fitts, has determined how this whole human-computer interaction works. It predicts that the necessary time to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the size of the target, and the distance to it. Fitts’s law is used mainly to study the act of pointing an object, whether physically, or virtually, with the help of your hand, finger, or a pointing device.
Now that touch interfaces have become so popular, the size of the navigating elements does matter, and it does make sense to take into account some basic and necessary specifications for the user experience to work well. But this also works with regular user interfaces.
What Fitts’s model did was to formulate a mathematical solution that, in a very simple way, determined that the speed–accuracy trade off associated with pointing completely depends on whether targets that are smaller and/or further away than normal, require more time to get to them.
Accessibility is the keyword in user experience, and in the following examples we can see how Fitts’s law can be used.
The four corners in the screen are the fastest areas in the screen to access.
When labels make part of the target it is instantly bigger. The bigger the target, the easier to access to it.
Fitts’s law can also be used in order to give less importance to some objects, and make the your target stand out.
Want to learn more?
Check out Felipe’s slide presentation: