Title page for ETD etd-222102139711101

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ergen, Feyza F.
URN etd-222102139711101
Title Effects of Interface Format, Feedback Style, and System Lag on the Usability of Hand-Held Internet Controllers
Degree Master of Science
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Deighan, John
Farley, Willard W. Jr.
Beaton, Robert J. Committee Chair
  • user-interface design
  • human-computer interaction
  • system response time
  • feedback
  • tree-menu structures
  • internet
Date of Defense 1996-12-17
Availability unrestricted
The increasing popularity of the World Wide

Web (WWW) has created a new market:

Web access through television to

accommodate those who either cannot afford

existing hardware or are intimidated by

computers. Current efforts to combine the

WWW and television have targeted potential

novice users. One of the approaches for

creating a WWW browsing system that is

both simple to use and inexpensive is the

utilization of the existing cable system to

provide Web access through television. Some

unique characteristics of this browsing system

are fast access to the Web, the use of nine

buttons on a universal remote control, and an

index structure for reaching Web sites. Since

browsing the Web through television is

relatively new, many interface issues need to

be examined. The purpose of this research

was to investigate potential user interface

designs for this WWW browser and to

evaluate the usability of the nine-button


Sixteen volunteers participated in the

experiment and were asked to navigate to

specific Web sites with two interface formats,

five different system lag times (0.2, 0.7, 1.3,

2.0, and 3.0 seconds), and three feedback

styles (active feedback, passive feedback and

no feedback). Participants were prescreened

for their experience with computers and

browsing the Web. The experiment was

conducted in a living room setting to simulate

real life situations and participants were given

a total of 42 tasks to complete throughout the

experiment. Each task consisted of navigating

through the tree structure with either one of

the two interface formats until reaching a

designated Web site. The number of errors

committed and task completion times were

recorded. In addition, participants were

asked to rate the WWW browser system

after each task as well as after the entire


Participants preferred the 0.2 second system

lag and the active feedback style. Overall,

they committed fewer errors and took less

time to complete tasks with the tabbing

interface than with the one-to-one mapping

interface. Experienced participants committed

more errors than did the inexperienced ones.

Increase of system lag time was determined

to have a greater adverse effect on the

tabbing interface than on the one-to-one

mapping interface.

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