Appendix B: Instructions to Subjects

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Preamble: Introduction and Description of the Experiment

The following description should be read to each subject at the beginning of the experiment. Italicized text are instructions to the experimenter.

Before you begin, you should have a worksheet available for the subject. You should also have the interface up and running, with the Qwerty layout selected. No other windows should be visible. Also, assign subjects a subject number. Assume this one is Subject B02-13-3.

Introduce yourself. Give them the consent form to sign, on their worksheet. If it is not signed, do not proceed.

My name is _________, and I will be giving you instructions on what to do and will answer your questions.
You're helping us by trying out a new product in the early development stages. We have several different versions of this product, and we're looking to see which version is the easiest to use. If you have trouble with some of the tasks, its the product's fault, not yours. Don't feel bad; that's exactly what we are looking for. Remember, we are testing the product versions, not you.

Tell the participant that it's OK to quit at any time.

Although I don't know of any reason for this to happen, if you should become uncomfortable or find this test objectionable in any way, you are free to quit at any time.

Start the software. Enter a location for your data file, and name it as <subject ID>.txt

Tell them about the experiment. Make sure the Qwerty Large keyboard is displayed, and select the mouse input option. Point to the various parts of it as you explain this layout.

Our team is working on a computer that does not have a keyboard. Because text entry may be occasionally required, we plan to put a simulated keyboard on the screen, <point to screen> such as the one you see in front of you, through which people can "mouse type". Anything you type appears in the top area. You "mouse-type" by selecting a key on the screen. Shift and backspace work as you would expect.

Press the "Start" button and mouse-type "Hellx<backspace>o world". Make sure to use the Shift key for the 'H' and to correct the 'x' typo by backspace.

When I am done, I press the 'Stop' button to tell the system I have finished.

Point to the Stop button and press it.

The purpose of this experiment is to study people's ability to "mouse-type" using a variety of different keyboard layouts. The keyboard layouts we will use are as follows.
This layout is called a Qwerty keyboard, and is the one commonly found on most keyboards. Switch to the alphabetic layout. This layout is called an Alphabetic keyboard. Notice that the letters are arranged in alphabetic order. Switch to the random layout This is a Random keyboard, where letters are in no particular order.

Switch to the Qwerty small layout

Finally, each keyboard appears in two different sizes: Large and small.

Don't tell subjects about the possible advantages or disadvantages of each method!

Administer the pre-test questionairre on the worksheet. Write down the answers as they are supplied!.

Before we begin the typing task, I would like you to answer a few questions found on this form.

Specific instructions for each task

Don't forget to record any comments on the workheet.

For all typing tasks, I am going to ask you to type as fast as you can. However, I want you to avoid typing errors. If you do make an occasional mistake, correct it with the backspace key. If you make many errors, then you are probably trying too hard and you should slow down a bit.

Task 1: Measure their touch typing ability. Set it up to the qwerty keyboard

I'll begin by measuring your actual typing speed using the physical keyboard.

Make sure the keyboard is in Qwerty Large, with the input set to keyboard. Give them the paragraph.

Please read the following paragraph aloud. When you are ready to begin, I will press the Start button and tell you to begin typing. When you are done, tell me and I will press the Stop button again. Any questions?

Have subjects do it!

Now lets do it again with the next paragraph.

Ask them to read it aloud, and repeat the previous step.

Task 2-7: Measure their mouse typing ability with various keyboards and sizes.

Note that the order you run these experiments in will be assigned by your Instructor. For illustration, assume the order is Qwerty, Random, and Alphabetic and for each layout you start with Small and then Large.. Change the layout to the Phone / Small layout, and set the input to mouse .

Now we will see how fast you can mouse-type on the Alphabetic keyboard. As before, you should type as fast as you can while still avoiding typing errors. This time, you will be pressing the Start button at the beginning, and the Stop button at the end.
Read the first sentence aloud, and start whenever you are ready. This sentence is for practice.

Have them do it.
Note: Subjects may forget to press the button starting and ending the experiment. Remind them!

Give them the 2nd sentence

Now do the same with this sentence. This time, we will be recording your typing time and errors, so go as quickly as you can and try to keep your typing errors down. Read the sentence aloud and start whenever you are ready. Don't forget to click Stop when you are done.

'Have them do it.
Give them the 3rd sentence

Now here is the last sentence with this keyboard. Read it aloud and start when ready.

Have them do it.

Good. What do you think about mouse-typing with this layout?

Record their comments on the worksheet

I'll switch to the next keyboard.....

Repeat the above procedure for the large keyboard. Use the same sentences in the same order of presentation. Then repeat for each of the remaining keyboards at both sizes.

The Post-Test

Administer post-test questionnaire on the worksheet

Now that you have used all keyboards:
  • can you rank order them from best to worst?
  • Do you have any other comments to make?

Record the results. You may want to ask other questions on oddities that you may have observed.

At this point, the experiment is complete. You can answer any questions that the subject may have. Thank them. Finally, record your own observations of what you saw that were not captured by subject's comments