Publication: The Usability of CommandMaps in Realistic Tasks

CommandMaps are a promising interface technique that flattens command hierarchies and exploits human spatial memory to provide rapid access to commands. CommandMaps have performed favorably in constrained cued-selection studies, but have not yet been tested in the context of real tasks. In this paper we present two real-world implementations of CommandMaps: one for Microsoft Word and one for an image editing program called Pinta. We use these as our experimental platforms in two experiments. In the first, we show that CommandMaps demonstrate performance and subjective advantages in a realistic task. In the second, we observe naturalistic use of CommandMaps over the course of a week, and gather qualitative data from interviews, questionnaires, and conversations. Our results provide substantial insight into users' reactions to CommandMaps, showing that they are positively received by users and allowing us to provide concrete recommendations to designers regarding when and how they should be implemented in real applications.




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


Scarr, J., Cockburn, A., Gutwin, C., Bunt, A., Cechanowicz, J. 2014. The Usability of CommandMaps in Realistic Tasks. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2014), ISBN 978-1-4503-2473-1. DOI=10.1145/2556288.2556976.


@inbook {446-the-usability-of-commandmaps,
author= {Joey Scarr and Andy Cockburn and Carl Gutwin and A. Bunt and Jared Cechanowicz},
title= {The Usability of CommandMaps in Realistic Tasks},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2014)},
year= {2014}