Publication: Exposing and Understanding Scrolling Transfer Functions

Scrolling is controlled through many forms of input devices, such as mouse wheels, trackpad gestures, arrow keys, and joysticks. Performance with these devices can be adjusted by introducing variable transfer functions to alter the range of expressible speed, precision, and sensitivity. However, existing transfer functions are typically “black boxes” bundled into proprietary operating systems and drivers. This presents three problems for researchers: (1) a lack of knowledge about the current state of the field; (2) a difficulty in replicating research that uses scrolling devices; and (3) a potential experimental confound when evaluating scrolling devices and techniques. These three problems are caused by gaps in researchers' knowledge about what device and movement factors are important for scrolling transfer functions, and about how existing devices and drivers use these factors. We fill these knowledge gaps with a framework of transfer function factors for scrolling, and a method for analysing proprietary transfer functions--demonstrating how state of the art commercial devices accommodate some of the human control phenomena observed in prior studies.




P. Quinn Andy Cockburn
University of Canterbury
G. Casiez N. Roussel
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan


Quinn, P., Cockburn, A., Casiez, G., Roussel, N., Gutwin, C. 2012. Exposing and Understanding Scrolling Transfer Functions. In Proceedings of the 25th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2012), ISBN 978-1-4503-1580-7. 341-350.


@inbook {438-exposing-and-understanding,
author= {P. Quinn and Andy Cockburn and G. Casiez and N. Roussel and Carl Gutwin},
title= {Exposing and Understanding Scrolling Transfer Functions},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the 25th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2012)},
year= {2012},
pages= {341-350}