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Two-Handed Input Using a PDA and a Mouse

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2000, 00:00 authored by Brad Myers, Kin Pou Lie, Bo-Chieh Yang

We performed several experiments using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) as an input device in the non-dominant hand along with a mouse in the dominant hand. A PDA is a small hand-held palm-size computer like a 3Com Palm Pilot or a Windows CE device. These are becoming widely available and are easily connected to a PC. Results of our experiments indicate that people can accurately and quickly select among a small numbers of buttons on the PDA using the left hand without looking, and that, as predicted, performance does decrease as the number of buttons increases. Homing times to move both hands between the keyboard and devices are only about 10% to 15% slower than times to move a single hand to the mouse, suggesting that acquiring two devices does not cause a large penalty. In an application task, we found that scrolling web pages using buttons or a scroller on the PDA matched the speed of using a mouse with a conventional scroll bar, and beat the best two-handed times reported in an earlier experiment. These results will help make two-handed interactions with computers more widely available and more effective.