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  • Immediate PhD opportunity at Telecom Paris Tech

    Dear Colleague,
    here is an offer for a three year PhD job at TELECOM ParisTech starting
    on November or December 1st, 2008.

    Fitts' Law and Scale: Understanding Pointing Performance in Miniaturized
    Input Space

    Yves Guiard (TELECOM ParisTech)
    Eric Lecolinet (TELECOM ParisTech)
    Michel Beaudouin-Lafon (LRI & INRIA Saclay Ile-de-France)

    TELECOM ParisTech (ENST)
    46 rue Barrault
    75013 Paris

    More details on the subject and the expected profile of applicants are
    to be found below.

    Anyone interested in the offer is invited to get in touch with me ASAP.
    Please feel free to circulate this message to whoever you feel might
    find it of interest.

    Best wishes

    Yves Guiard
    Directeur de recherche CNRS
    TELECOM ParisTech (ENST)
    46 rue Barrault
    75013 Paris
    +33 1 45 81 78 35
    +33 1 43 20 79 33
    PhD Project Title*
    Fitts' Law and Scale: Understanding Pointing Performance in Miniaturized
    Input Space
    *Funding Agency*
    Institut TELECOM, Paris, France
    Futur and Ruptures 2008 funding program
    Department Informatique et Réseaux
    TELECOM ParisTech
    46 rue Barrault
    75013 Paris, France
    *Funding Duration*
    Three years, starting on Nov or Dec 1st, 2008
    Yves Guiard, INFRES – LTCI, TELECOM ParisTech
    Eric Lecolinet, INFRES – LTCI, TELECOM ParisTech
    Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, LRI & INRIA Saclay Ile-de-France
    *Research Project Outline*
    Fitts' law states that the time needed by a human to reach a target like a
    graphical object, using some pointer, is lawfully determined by the ratio of
    target distance and target width, the relationship being usually best
    described with a logarithmic equation [2,8]. Over the past 25 years this
    remarkably reliable and robust empirical regularity has proved particularly
    useful in human-computer interaction (HCI) where it has served to predict
    pointing performance and helped to evaluate input devices and interaction
    techniques [6].
    Our recent reappraisal of the literature has revealed a poor understanding
    of the role of the scale factor in conventional Fitts' law experimentation
    [3,4,5]. As far as interface evaluation is concerned, we have strong
    arguments to claim that, using the established methodology, Fitts' law
    experiments yield biased estimates of Fitts' law parameters whenever the
    pointing task takes place at non-optimal levels of pointing scale, in the
    context of either substantially enlarged [1] or substantially miniaturized
    [9] displays.
    This PhD project will come to grips with the effect of scale reduction on
    target acquisition performance, keeping in mind that miniaturization of
    interaction space (e.g., with smart phones, hand-held computers, down to
    wrist-watch computers) represents indeed one of the most serious challenges
    HCI research has to handle currently. The research will aim to characterize
    quantitatively and explain the biases entailed by the current way of
    assessing target acquisition performance, and to develop an alternative,
    more appropriate methodology. The results should lead in practice to
    specific recommendations for a revision of the current ISO standard that has
    been ruling the evaluation of non-keyboard input devices since 2000 [7]. But
    this is not all: also at stake is an improved understanding of simple aimed
    movement, from a basic research point of view.
    Expected Applicant Profile
    The subject of this research taking place at the overlap of human movement
    science, a specialization of experimental psychology, and human-computer
    interaction, a specialization
    of computer science, applications from either community will be judged
    worthy of consideration.
    Applications should be sent by email to as soon as possible to
    W. Buxton, G. Fitzmaurice, R. Balakrishnan, & G. Kurtenbach. Large displays
    in automotive design. In IEEE CG&A, 20(4):68–75, 2000.
    Fitts, P. M., 1954. The information capacity of the human motor system in
    controlling the amplitude of movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology
    47, 381-391 (reprinted in J. Exp. Psychol.: General, September 1992, 121(3),
    Guiard, Y. (2001). Disentangling relative from absolute movement amplitude
    in Fitts' law experiments. CHI'2001, ACM Conference on Human Factors in
    Computing Systems (pp. 315-316). New York: ACM Press.
    Guiard, Y. (2007). De l'ambiguïté des écritures fractionnaires:
    interprétations polaire et cartésienne de l'expression D/W dans les lois de
    Fitts et d'Accot et Zhai. Actes de IHM 2007, conférence francophone
    d'interaction homme-machine (Pp. 19-22). New York: ACM Press.
    Guiard Y. (2008, submitted). Interface Evaluation in HCI : Improving the
    Standard Methodology of Fitts' Law Experimentation.
    Guiard, Y. & M. Beaudouin-Lafon (Eds., 2004). Fitts' law fifty years later:
    Application and contributions from human-computer interaction. A special
    issue of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 61 (6).
    ISO. ISO/DIS 9241-9 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual
    display terminals (VDTs) - Part 9: Requirements for non-keyboard input
    devices. International Standard, International Organization for
    Standardization (2000).
    MacKenzie, I. S., 1992. Fitts' law as a research and design tool in
    human-computer interaction. Human-Computer Interaction 7, 91-139.
    M. T. Raghunath, Chandra Narayanaswami (2002). User Interfaces for
    Applications on a Wrist Watch. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 16 (1).

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