Evan Quinlan

Fitts’ Law of Approachability

In Drabbles, Non-Fiction on October 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm

In 1954 Paul Fitts proposed a law of human-computer interaction.  Fitts’ Law states that the time it takes for a person to access a control depends on its width and its distance from the person’s starting point.  Imagine mouse-clicking a tiny text link across your screen versus a huge button next to your cursor.  Which is faster?

Sometimes I wonder how easy I am to click.  Am I distant and narrow or nearby with a wide-open mind?  I hope the latter.  I want to be a big, green button that says “Click Here.”  I want Fitts to be proud of me.

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  1. Since you wish it, you must be more the big green button than the distant narrow text link. However, keep both options as there will be occasions when you’ll want to give someone the time the extra distance gives them to think before they click. . .

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