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GIVING NAVIGATION A HAND: LATERALITY AND MENU PLACEMENT

by Reuning, Sarah P.

Abstract (Summary)
The brains of left- and right-handed people have been shown to work slightly differently. Based on performance times, this study illustrates that individuals may process navigational menus differently according to which side (left or right) of the computer screen the menu appears on. Most Web site menus occupy the left of the screen due to convention rather than to the known superiority of the left-sided menu. This study challenges that convention, showing that the right-side menu speeds navigational performance for both left-handed and right-handed users. The right-side menu was also ranked slightly less difficult to use than the left. Despite the fact that participants claimed approximately the same level of comfort using both menus, they still overwhelmingly said they preferred left-side menus. Interestingly, left-handed participants out performed right-handed participants with both menus, even while using mice in their non-dominant hands. Thus, left-side navigational menus do not possess an inherent laterality bias in favor of right-handers, but in fact may slow performance for users regardless of handedness.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Gary Marchionini

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:user interface design usability human computer interaction

ISBN:

Date of Publication:04/05/2004

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