Publication: Faster Command Selection on Tablets with FastTap

Touch-based tablet UIs provide few shortcut mechanisms for rapid command selection; as a result, command selection on tablets often requires slow traversal of menus. We developed a new selection technique for multi-touch tablets, called FastTap, that uses thumb-and-finger touches to show and choose from a spatially-stable grid-based overlay interface. FastTap allows novices to view and inspect the full interface, but once item locations are known, FastTap allows people to select commands with a single quick thumb-and-finger tap. The interface helps users develop expertise, since the motor actions carried out as a novice rehearse the expert behavior. A controlled study showed that FastTap was significantly faster (by 33% per selection overall) than marking menus, both for novices and experts, and without reduction in accuracy or subjective preference. Our work introduces a new and efficient selection mechanism that supports rapid command execution on touch tablets, for both novices and experts.




Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Andy Cockburn
University of Canterbury
Joey Scarr Sylvain Malacria
Scott Olson


Gutwin, C., Cockburn, A., Scarr, J., Malacria, S., Olson, S.C. 2014. Faster Command Selection on Tablets with FastTap. In ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2014), 2617-2626. DOI=


@inproceedings {341-CHI-paper-988,
author= {Carl Gutwin and Andy Cockburn and Joey Scarr and Sylvain Malacria and Scott Olson},
title= {Faster Command Selection on Tablets with FastTap},
booktitle= {ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2014)},
year= {2014},
pages= {2617-2626}