HCIL-92-15

Sears, A., Shneiderman, B.
Nov. 1992
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, vol. 1, 1 (March 1994) 27-51.
HCIL-92-15, CS-TR-2997, CAR-TR-649
When some items in a menu are selected more frequently than others, as is often the case, designers or individual users may be able to speed performance and improve satisfaction by placing several high-frequency items at the top of the menu. Design guid elines for split menus were developed and applied. Split menus were implemented and tested in two field studies and a controlled experiment. In the field study conditions performance times were reduced from 17 or 58% depending on the site and menus. In the controlled experiment split menus were significantly faster than alphabetic menus and yielded significantly higher subjective preferences. A possible resolution to the continuing debate among cognitive theorists about predicting menu selection times is offered. We conjecture and offer evidence that the logarithmic model applies to familiar (high-frequency) items and the linear model applies to unfamiliar (low-frequency) items.
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