Practice and carryover effects when using small interaction devices

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The use of interaction devices in modern work often challenges the human motor system, especially when these devices introduce unfamiliar transformations to the user. In this paper we evaluated expert performance and skill differences between experts and novices when using small motion- and force-controlled interaction devices (touchpad and mini-joystick) in an applied text-editing task. Firstly, experts performed better with their familiar input device than with an unfamiliar one. Particularly touchpad experts operating the unfamiliar mini-joystick showed highly asymmetric carryover costs. Results showed that the efficient performance of experts depended on domain-specific skills, which were not transferable. Secondly, with considerable practice (more than observed for simple and short tasks) novices were brought up to higher levels of performance. The motion-transformation between hand and cursor action was easier in understanding and application than the force-transformation. Thus, the touchpad was used more efficiently than the mini-joystick. In conclusion, practice effects found so far are considerably underestimated when it comes to an applied task. The results give reason to develop and implement skill-sensitive training procedures, since the acquisition of domain-specific skills is critical for expert performance. As a consequence, training procedures might be essential for complex applications and/or unfamiliar device transformations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)437-444
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 03.2011

    Research areas

  • Business psychology - Sensorimotor transformation, tool use, applied dragging task, expert, human-computer interaction