Publication: A Predictive Model of Menu Performance

Menus are a primary control in current interfaces, but there has been relatively little theoretical work to model their performance. We propose a model of menu performance that goes beyond previous work by incorporating components for Fitts' Law pointing time, visual search time when novice, Hick-Hyman Law decision time when expert, and for the transition from novice to expert behaviour. The model is able to predict performance for many different menu designs, including adaptive split menus, items with different frequencies and sizes, and multi-level menus. We tested the model by comparing predictions for four menu designs (traditional menus, recency and frequency based split menus, and an adaptive 'morphing' design) with empirical measures. The empirical data matched the predictions extremely well, suggesting that the model can be used to explore a wide range of menu possibilities before implementation.





Andy Cockburn
University of Canterbury
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Saul Greenberg
University of Calgary


Cockburn, A., Gutwin, C., Greenberg, S. 2007. A Predictive Model of Menu Performance. In Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2007), 627-636.


@inproceedings {morphing,
author= {Andy Cockburn and Carl Gutwin and Saul Greenberg},
title= {A Predictive Model of Menu Performance},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2007)},
year= {2007},
pages= {627-636}