In relation to making a pie-menu.

I've tried finding research on this, but to no avail.

My reasoning is this: Put the most used features at the easiest places (although putting opposites.. opposite each other (i.e. Undo & Redo)).

I suppose this might vary between different pointing devices, but that's not a problem. Separate statistics for different ones would be preferable.

Mouse and touchpad are probably the most used ones, although I can still accommodate for others as well (trackball, pointing stick ++) in the software's settings. ("Using a trackball? This is probably best for you")

  • And yes, I do have hunches, but those aren't enough now are they? :)
    – Jonta
    Mar 13, 2011 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


For a mouse, horizontal movement to reach a target is usually faster than other directions (which can be seen as easier). There is a nice illustration of this phenomenon in a paper by Whisenand and Emurian 'Some effect of angle of approach on icon selection' (figure 1).

Thompson, Slocum, and Bohan (2004) add to this the factor of gain. Higher gain particularly benefits longer amplitutes, larger targets, in a horizontal direction.

I don't know about research on other devices, but I'd expect the same patterns.

  • 1
    [Summary of first paper: Horizontal is easier than vertical, and these four are all easier/faster than diagonal movements] Thanks! This has probably changed how the pie-menu will be designed. How did you find these by the way? Smart searchphrasing? (if so, what?). Software as used in the tests would be nice. Preferably on web to make it easy for participants to access. I'd like to do my own testing with different pointing-devices. Anyone?
    – Jonta
    Mar 14, 2011 at 23:50
  • 2
    You're welcome! I found them with google scholar. The key term for direction seems to be 'angle of approach'.
    – Marielle
    Mar 17, 2011 at 14:03

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