An evaluation of touchscreen versus keyboard/mouse interaction for large screen process control displays

Benjamin Noah, Jingwen Li, Ling Rothrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to test the effect of interaction device on performance in a process control task (managing a tank farm). The study compared the following two conditions: a) 4K-resolution 55“ screen with a 21” touchscreen versus b) 4K-resolution 55″ screen with keyboard/mouse. The touchscreen acted both as an interaction device for data entry and navigation and as an additional source of information. A within-subject experiment was conducted among 20 college engineering students. A primary task of preventing tanks from overfilling as well as a secondary task of manual logging with situation awareness questions were designed for the study. Primary Task performance (including tank level at discharge, number of tank discharged and performance score), Secondary Task Performance (including Tank log count, performance score), system interaction times, subjective workload, situation awareness questionnaire, user experience survey regarding usability and condition comparison were used as the measures. Parametric data resulted in two metrics statistically different means between the two conditions: The 4K-keyboard condition resulted in faster Detection + Navigation time compared to the 4K-touchscreen condition, by about 2 s, while participants within the 4K-touchscreen condition were about 2 s faster in data entry than in the 4K-keyboard condition. No significant results were found for: performance on the secondary task, situation awareness, and workload. Additionally, no clear significant differences were found in the non-parametric data analysis. However, participants showed a slight preference for the 4K-touchscreen condition compared to the 4K-keyboard condition in subjective responses in comparing the conditions. Introducing the touchscreen as an additional/alternative input device showed to have an effect in interaction times, which suggests that proper design considerations need to be made. While having values shown on the interaction device provides value, a potential issue of visual distraction exists when having an additional visual display. The allocation of visual attention between primary displays and the touchscreen should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Ergonomics
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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