Lecture Topics in HCI, by Saul Greenberg
Contents for: All Topics CPSC 481 SENG 609.05 Industrial Course

Assignment: Quantitative Evaluation


  • Assignment details
  • Appendix 1: Instructions to subjects
  • Appendix 2: Text for copy typing
  • Appendix 3: Consent form and questionairres
  • Appendix 4: Work Sheet
  • Grading Sheet
  • How to Structure Reports on Experiments in Human-Computer Interaction
  • Supplement Readings on keyboards and statistics, available from the TA by request
  • Example of how to do stats with Excel
  • Software download

  • Tcl/TK v8.04 - the programming language necessary to run the software, self installing script.
  • kb.tcl - The program - just double click the kb.tcl file after its downloaded. Note that the program will produce a file called test1.text containing the data after you run it.
  • Description

    This assignment is a hands-on exercise on quantitative evalution. Its immediate purpose is to give you experience conducting a controlled experiment, performing a simple statistical analysis, interpretting the results, and considering its implications to design decisions. Its other purpose is to provide you with enough knowledge of the experimental process to help you understand and appreciate the HCI literature that uses this methodology. The assignment, which changes slightly every year, compares people's mouse-typing abilities on different keyboard layouts. Mouse typing is simply the speed at which someone types, using a mouse, on a soft keyboard presented on the computer screen. Some of the keyboard layouts considered over the years are:

  • Qwerty, alphabetic, and dvorak keyboards
  • Qwerty versus a novel circular keyboard that had frequent letters located near its center and with larger keys
  • Qwerty versus an alphabetic strip keyboard that had a single row with all the letters on it in alphabetic order
  • Two alphabetic keyboards, one with the alphabet ordered along the rows, the other ordered along the columns.
  • A phone pad versus an alpahbetic keyboard, to be used on a fax machine with an input screen
  • You will work in groups of three, and each group uses its members as subjects. Your group will submit the data collected to the teaching assistant, who will compile the data from all group and hand it back to the class. Your group will then use an unpaired T-Test to check for differences between the typing speeds.


    Your group will deliver a substantial technical report that presents the experiment, collects the results, and discusses its implications. Your report must follow the format defined in the above-mentioned handout How to Structure Reports on Experiments in HCI.

    Last updated September 1997, by Saul Greenberg