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A Study in Two-Handed Input

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Published on Mar 23, 2010

This is an early study in the simultaneous use of 2 hands in performing complementary tasks when interacting with a computer. The two tasks studied were, (a) one where you have to both move and object to a particular location, as well as adjust its size, and (b) one where you have to navigate to a particular location in a document and then select a specified target. These two compound tasks we refer to as selection-positioning and navigation-selection tasks, respectively.

Despite how long ago this study was done, the clear demonstration that users could easilly perform such 2 handed (bimanual) tasks, and the significant improvements in performance that resulted, it is somewhat striking that such capabilities are still not generally part of our everyday systems. This is especially true since every laptop with a touch-pad and a USB mouse has every component neccessary to support such interaction.

This work was done by Brad Myers and William (Bill) Buxton in 1985-86 as part of the Dynamic Graphics Project of the University of Toronto.

Ref: Buxton, W. & Myers, B. (1986). A study in two-handed input. Proceedings of CHI '86, 321-326.

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