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Authors: Greenberg, Saul
Witten, Ian
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 1-Sep-1985
Abstract: Menu selection is a popular way of accessing databases and command sets. When the database can be categorized on a semantic basis, each menu entry usually reflects a "field of knowledge". However, some information - such as the ordered sequential lists found in telephone directories - cannot be easily categorized, and must use a presentation scheme which divides entries into ranges using lexical ordering. This paper reports a human factors investigation of six possible menu displays for alphabetically-ordered lists. It offers clear guidance as to which menu format provides the best human performance in terms of scanning speed and error rate. Novice and expert computer users are also compared, with results indicating that novices have slower scanning speeds and greater sensitivity to menu displays than experts. Differences between human performance in scanning root menus and menus buried deep in hierarchies are also studied. The results suggest that the traversal of alphabetic menu hierarchies should avoid, as much as possible, descending deep into the tree, for user efficiency deteriorates with depth.
Appears in Collections:Witten, Ian
Greenberg, Saul

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