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Reactions, accuracy and response complexity of numerical typing on touch screens

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Touch screens are popular nowadays as seen on public kiosks, industrial control panels and personal mobile devices. Numerical typing is one frequent task performed on touch screens, but this task on touch screen is subject to human errors and slow responses. This study aims to find innate differences of touch screens from standard physical keypads in the context of numerical typing by eliminating confounding issues. Effects of precise visual feedback and urgency of numerical typing were also investigated. The results showed that touch screens were as accurate as physical keyboards, but reactions were indeed executed slowly on touch screens as signified by both pre-motor reaction time and reaction time. Provision of precise visual feedback caused more errors, and the interaction between devices and urgency was not found on reaction time. To improve usability of touch screens, designers should focus more on reducing response complexity and be cautious about the use of visual feedback.

Practitioner Summary: The study revealed that slower responses on touch screens involved more complex human cognition to formulate motor responses. Attention should be given to designing precise visual feedback appropriately so that distractions or visual resource competitions can be avoided to improve human performance on touch screens.
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Keywords: human errors; numerical typing; response complexity; touch screen; visual feedback

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo, 414 Bell Hall Buffalo, NY, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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