Ben Lafreniere of the University of Saskatchewan visits DGP

Ben Lafreniere of the University of Saskatchewan visited the DGP to talk about rehearsal-based interfaces.


Ben Lafreniere is a Human-Computer Interaction researcher who specializes in the areas of learning and skill development with interactive systems, and the usability of feature-rich software. In 2014 he received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo for his work on developing task-centric user interfaces. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Interaction lab at the University of Saskatchewan.


Rehearsal-based interfaces are designed to enable a smooth transition from novice to expert performance by making the novice user’s visually-guided actions a physical rehearsal of the expert’s feedback-free actions. While a number of examples of these interfaces have been developed, including Marking Menus and FastTap menus, there is little published data on how skill development happens in real use of these interfaces. In this talk I will describe two studies we conducted on skill development in rehearsal-based interfaces: one in a game that directly rewards rapid menu selections, and another in a drawing application that has no particular need for urgency. Our results show very different patterns of adoption in these two applications, and suggest that rehearsal of physical actions alone does not guarantee that users will adopt expert methods. I will also discuss insights into what affects use of expert methods by users, and the implications of our findings for how rehearsal-based techniques should be employed in practice. Finally, I will discuss ongoing research that builds on this work.

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