We investigate performance characteristics when switching between four pointing methods: absolute touch, absolute pen, relative mouse, and relative trackpad. The established "subtraction method" protocol used in mode-switching studies is extended to test pairs of methods and accommodate switch direction, multiple baselines, and controlling relative cursor position. A first experiment examines method switching on and around the horizontal surface of a tablet. Results find switching between pen and touch is fastest, and switching between relative and absolute methods incurs additional time penalty. A second experiment expands the investigation to an emerging foldable all-screen laptop form factor where switching also occurs on an angled surface and along a smoothly curved hinge. Results find switching between trackpad and touch is fastest, with all switching times generally higher. Our work contributes missing empirical evidence for switching performance using modern input methods, and our results can inform interaction design for current and emerging device form factors.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2022.acm.org/)