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Conference Papers Year : 2020

How Relevant is Hick's Law for HCI?


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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hal-02867301 , version 1 (14-06-2020)





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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