Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Computer Science

Department or School/College

Department of Computer Science

Committee Chair

Yolanda Jacobs Reimer

Commitee Members

Joel E. Henry, Rudy A. Gideon


cursors, mice, mouse, orientation-neutral cursors, stimulus-response compatibility


University of Montana


Very little research exists on the topic of computer cursor design and utilization. Since this is an important area in successful and efficient user interaction with graphical user interfaces, additional study is necessary. To investigate the impact of cursors with no implicit directional cues (orientation-neutral cursors) on movement time, positioning performance, and stimulus-response compatibility, six experiments were designed. In these experiments, six orientation-neutral cursors were compared against each other as well as against four directional cursors. Twelve participants with advanced computer skills between the ages of 18 and 30, right-handed, and normal or corrected-to-normal eyesight participated in the experiments, which were conducted in a tightly controlled environment. The study contained six different experiments, each designed to evaluate and analyze a set of cursor types. Each experiment consisted of nine targets, eight arranged on an imaginary circle surrounding a central target. Participants were instructed to point-and-click alternating between the center target and highlighted targets on the outer circle with emphasis on speed (movement time) and accuracy (positioning performance). All experiments measured two dependent variables, movement time and positioning performance. Statistical analysis tests revealed a correlation for some cursor types between the two dependent variables, while changing target shapes indicated no statistical significance on the overall results. Slower movement times resulted in more precise positioning performances (greater degree of accuracy) and vice versa. This study concludes that there is no one cursor of those tested that performed best for anyone. Moreover, this study did not provide the same results in the replication of the mouse-input-portion of Po et al. (2005). The results of this study provide material upon which further studies could expand.



© Copyright 2007 Kim Joachim Oehmichen