Applying Fitts’ Law to Gesture Based Computer Interactions

Rachael A. Burno, Bing Wu, Rina Doherty, Hannah Colett, Rania Elnaggar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Scopus citations


    As gesture interfaces become more main-stream, it is increasingly important to investigate the behavioral characteristics of these interactions – particularly in three-dimensional (3D) space. In this study, Fitts’ method was extended to such input technologies, and the applicability of Fitts’ law to gesture-based interactions was examined. The experiment included three gesture-based input devices that utilize different techniques to capture user movement, and compared them to conventional input technologies like touchscreen and mouse. Participants completed a target-acquisition test and were instructed to move a cursor from a home location to a spherical target as quickly and accurately as possible. Three distances and three target sizes were tested six times in a randomized order for all input devices. A total of 81 participants completed all tasks. Movement time, error rate, and throughput were calculated for each input technology. Results showed that the mean movement time was highly correlated with the target's index of difficulty for all devices, providing evidence that Fitts’ law can be extended and applied to gesture-based devices. Throughputs were found to be significantly lower for the gesture-based devices compared to mouse and touchscreen, and as the index of difficulty increased, the movement time increased significantly more for these gesture technologies. Error counts were statistically higher for all gesture-based input technologies compared to mouse. In addition, error counts for all inputs were highly correlated with target width, but little impact was shown by movement distance. Overall, the findings suggest that gesture-based devices can be characterized by Fitts’ law in a similar fashion to conventional 1D or 2D devices.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4342-4349
    Number of pages8
    JournalProcedia Manufacturing
    StatePublished - 2015


    • 3D
    • Fitts’ law
    • Gesture interaction

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
    • Artificial Intelligence


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