Publication: Improving Command Selection with CommandMaps

Designers of GUI applications typically arrange commands in hierarchical structures, such as menus, due to screen space limitations. However, hierarchical organisations are known to slow down expert users. This paper proposes the use of spatial memory in combination with hierarchy flattening as a means of improving GUI performance. We demonstrate these concepts through the design of a command selection interface, called CommandMaps, and analyse its theoretical performance characteristics. We then describe two studies evaluating CommandMaps against menus and Microsoft's Ribbon interface for both novice and experienced users. Results show that for novice users, there is no significant performance difference between CommandMaps and traditional interfaces - but for experienced users, CommandMaps are significantly faster than both menus and the Ribbon.




Joey Scarr Andy Cockburn
University of Canterbury
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
A. Bunt


Scarr, J., Cockburn, A., Gutwin, C., Bunt, A. 2012. Improving Command Selection with CommandMaps. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), ISBN 978-1-4503-1015-4. 257-266.


@inbook {437-improving-command-selection-with-commandmaps,
author= {Joey Scarr and Andy Cockburn and Carl Gutwin and A. Bunt},
title= {Improving Command Selection with CommandMaps},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012)},
year= {2012},
pages= {257-266}