Evaluation of common input devices for web browsing: mouse vs touchpad vs touchscreen

Andrej Maleckar, Matjaž Kljun, Peter Rogelj, Klen Čopič Pucihar
University of Primorska, FAMNIT, Glagoljaška 8, Koper, Slovenia

Abstract: With the ever increasing connectivity to the Internet the use of the web has spread from static environments of desktop computers to mobile context where we interact with the web though laptop computers, tablet computers, mobile phones and wearable devices. Recent studies have shown that young people access the web using various devices and input techniques and spend on average more than 20 hours a week on the web. In this paper we plan to investigate which input technology is most usable or preferred for performing different tasks on the web. We decided to compare and evaluate the usability of the three most used input devices for web browsing, namely: a computer mouse and a touchpad on a laptop, and a touchscreen on a smartphone. For this purpose we have built a custom web page where users had to perform seven common tasks on web: open a URL address, copy/paste a URL address, copy/paste text, scroll up-down, scroll left-right, zoom in the context of a web page, and navigate a map. The results show that the mouse is still a preferred input device with shortest completion times, followed by the touchscreen interface even if it performed slower at some tasks compared to touchpad, which was marked as least preferred.

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