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How Relevant is Hick's Law for HCI?

Abstract : Hick's law is a key quantitative law in Psychology that relates reaction time to the logarithm of the number of stimulus-response alternatives in a task. Its application to HCI is controversial: Some believe that the law does not apply to HCI tasks, others regard it as the cornerstone of interface design. The law, however, is often misunderstood. We review the choice-reaction time literature and argue that: (1) Hick's law speaks against, not for, the popular principle that 'less is better'; (2) logarithmic growth of observed temporal data is not necessarily interpretable in terms of Hick's law; (3) the stimulus-response paradigm is rarely relevant to HCI tasks, where choice-reaction time can often be assumed to be constant; and (4) for user interface design, a detailed examination of the effects on choice-reaction time of psychological processes such as visual search and decision making is more fruitful than a mere reference to Hick's law.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02867301
Contributor : Michel Beaudouin-Lafon <>
Submitted on : Sunday, June 14, 2020 - 12:00:09 AM
Last modification on : Monday, February 22, 2021 - 4:21:24 PM

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Wanyu Liu, Julien Gori, Olivier Rioul, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, Yves Guiard. How Relevant is Hick's Law for HCI?. CHI '20 - CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Apr 2020, Honolulu, United States. pp.1-11, ⟨10.1145/3313831.3376878⟩. ⟨hal-02867301⟩

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