Can Friction Improve Mouse-Based Text Selection? Inproceedings

Dustin Phillips, Wolfgang Stuerzlinger


Text selection via caret positioning is a common task in modern word processing interfaces. It is a difficult task as target size - the distance between characters - is very small. We adapt Baudisch's snap-and-go technique for target acquisition to insert additional motor space at such targets when the mouse is decelerating. This increases the size of the target in motor space, thus potentially reducing the difficulty of text selection tasks. We expand this idea by introducing the concept of context-sensitive friction to improve target acquisition for common targets. We performed two pilot studies and a controlled user study to evaluate the new techniques. Our results indicate that selectively introducing friction into the interface can reduce total task time in common text selection tasks.

Date of publication: Sep - 2009
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