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Number Entry Interfaces 
Sarah Wiseman ! 
UCL Interaction Centre
Why Number Entry? 
• Errors are important! 
• Happens every day! 
• So many interface options! 
• Numbers are wicked cool
Mars Climate Orbiter
Mars Climate Orbiter 
• Determine distribution of water on Mars! 
• Monitor daily weather conditions! 
• Determine tempera...
Mars Climate Orbiter 
• Determine distribution of water on Mars! 
• Monitor daily weather conditions! 
• Determine tempera...
Mars Climate Orbiter 
Lesson: ! 
Remember that numbers sometimes 
mean something - not just random strings
Number Entry in the ! 
Medical Domain
Errors with Infusion Pumps
Errors in Design 
12!
Errors with Numbers 
compared to Text
Number Entry in the ! 
Medical Domain 
Lesson: ! 
Remember that errors in number entry can 
have serious consequences.
Humans checking for 
number errors 
Horse 
Cow 
Shepe 
Donkey
Humans checking for 
number errors 
Horse 
Cow 
Shepe 
Donkey 
1111 
1804 
2911 
3417
Humans checking for 
number errors 
Lesson: ! 
Number errors are really, really hard to spot
The design of the keypad
The Pushbutton phone
The Pushbutton phone cord
Making Number Entry Better
UCD in Number entry 
• “I checked the user is able to press the button ok”
UCD in Number entry 
• “I checked the user is able to press the button ok”! 
• What numbers does the user actually want to...
Benford’s Law
Blood Pressure Terminal 
Digit 
80 
Percentage of occurrence 0 
60 
40 
20 
0 5 Even Number Odd number (not 5) 
Terminatin...
Digits in the hospital 
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 . 
Digit 
Frequency 
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500
Numbers in the hospital 
Volume Frequency (%) 
100 29.87 
1000 9.97 
50 9.07 
500 6.36 
20 3.81
Adapting interfaces
Optician’s Interface Design
Applying this to design 
Faster Slower
Possible future design
Tailoring interfaces for 
numbers 
Lesson: ! 
Match the interface to the task it is being 
used for, make the common numbe...
Learning from text entry
Words and non-words 
Last night the Great British Bake Off was shocking 
little bit faster than 
British was night Great s...
Effect of words versus ! 
non words 
Faster 
Larger copy span 
Larger look-ahead 
I think the editors need to answer for t...
Testing text entry interfaces
Testing number entry 
interfaces 
“We generated a set of random numbers and 
asked users to enter them using the interface...
Similarity to numbers? 
Pony ≠ Prfw 
! 
1066 ≠ 9379
Results of Familiarity 
Interkeypress interval ms 
400 
350 
300 
250 
200 
Words Numbers 
Familiar Non Familiar
Test with Realistic Numbers 
Lesson: ! 
You wouldn’t test text entry with random 
strings, don’t test number entry with th...
Number Entry - ! 
Points to think about 
• Number mean something, they aren’t just shapes! 
• Number errors are big proble...
Thanks, go and do really 
good number entry stuff! 
@oopsohno 
www.swiseman.co.uk
• Deininger, R. L. (1960). Human factors engineering 
studies of the design and use of pushbutton 
telephone sets. Bell Sy...
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Designing usable number entry interfaces

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NUX Leeds - 28 August 2014

Designing usable number entry interfaces
By Sarah Wiseman (@oopsohno)

For years research has been conducted in the field of text entry, and has led to some innovative designs for alphabetic text entry interfaces, but little attention has been paid to the way we enter numbers.

Number entry is a highly pervasive task, whether it be entering our PIN at an ATM, or dialing a phone number to entering in financial data or medical information. Sarah Wiseman investigates number entry interfaces, and looks at the important aspects to consider when designing them.

http://nuxuk.org/2014/06/26/nux-leeds-28-aug-usable-number-entry

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Designing usable number entry interfaces

  1. 1. Number Entry Interfaces Sarah Wiseman ! UCL Interaction Centre
  2. 2. Why Number Entry? • Errors are important! • Happens every day! • So many interface options! • Numbers are wicked cool
  3. 3. Mars Climate Orbiter
  4. 4. Mars Climate Orbiter • Determine distribution of water on Mars! • Monitor daily weather conditions! • Determine temperature of atmosphere! • Look for evidence of climate change
  5. 5. Mars Climate Orbiter • Determine distribution of water on Mars! • Monitor daily weather conditions! • Determine temperature of atmosphere - REALLY HOT! • Look for evidence of climate change
  6. 6. Mars Climate Orbiter Lesson: ! Remember that numbers sometimes mean something - not just random strings
  7. 7. Number Entry in the ! Medical Domain
  8. 8. Errors with Infusion Pumps
  9. 9. Errors in Design 12!
  10. 10. Errors with Numbers compared to Text
  11. 11. Number Entry in the ! Medical Domain Lesson: ! Remember that errors in number entry can have serious consequences.
  12. 12. Humans checking for number errors Horse Cow Shepe Donkey
  13. 13. Humans checking for number errors Horse Cow Shepe Donkey 1111 1804 2911 3417
  14. 14. Humans checking for number errors Lesson: ! Number errors are really, really hard to spot
  15. 15. The design of the keypad
  16. 16. The Pushbutton phone
  17. 17. The Pushbutton phone cord
  18. 18. Making Number Entry Better
  19. 19. UCD in Number entry • “I checked the user is able to press the button ok”
  20. 20. UCD in Number entry • “I checked the user is able to press the button ok”! • What numbers does the user actually want to enter?
  21. 21. Benford’s Law
  22. 22. Blood Pressure Terminal Digit 80 Percentage of occurrence 0 60 40 20 0 5 Even Number Odd number (not 5) Terminating digit
  23. 23. Digits in the hospital 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 . Digit Frequency 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500
  24. 24. Numbers in the hospital Volume Frequency (%) 100 29.87 1000 9.97 50 9.07 500 6.36 20 3.81
  25. 25. Adapting interfaces
  26. 26. Optician’s Interface Design
  27. 27. Applying this to design Faster Slower
  28. 28. Possible future design
  29. 29. Tailoring interfaces for numbers Lesson: ! Match the interface to the task it is being used for, make the common numbers easy
  30. 30. Learning from text entry
  31. 31. Words and non-words Last night the Great British Bake Off was shocking little bit faster than British was night Great shocking Last Off the Bake faster than Proum flim shoyar larof quask tullep exuge serah faster than Rteu fgdwww weqk sreemg wkgj gfmss mnoaish
  32. 32. Effect of words versus ! non words Faster Larger copy span Larger look-ahead I think the editors need to answer for their actions
  33. 33. Testing text entry interfaces
  34. 34. Testing number entry interfaces “We generated a set of random numbers and asked users to enter them using the interface”
  35. 35. Similarity to numbers? Pony ≠ Prfw ! 1066 ≠ 9379
  36. 36. Results of Familiarity Interkeypress interval ms 400 350 300 250 200 Words Numbers Familiar Non Familiar
  37. 37. Test with Realistic Numbers Lesson: ! You wouldn’t test text entry with random strings, don’t test number entry with them
  38. 38. Number Entry - ! Points to think about • Number mean something, they aren’t just shapes! • Number errors are big problem, and they are hard to spot! • Think about how your interface could be tailored, keypad isn’t the only way! • Don’t treat random numbers as though they are representative - familiarity matters
  39. 39. Thanks, go and do really good number entry stuff! @oopsohno www.swiseman.co.uk
  40. 40. • Deininger, R. L. (1960). Human factors engineering studies of the design and use of pushbutton telephone sets. Bell System Technical Journal, 39, 995–1012. ! • Retrieved from http://www.vcalc.net/touchtone_hf.pdf
  • nuxuk

    Aug. 30, 2014

NUX Leeds - 28 August 2014 Designing usable number entry interfaces By Sarah Wiseman (@oopsohno) For years research has been conducted in the field of text entry, and has led to some innovative designs for alphabetic text entry interfaces, but little attention has been paid to the way we enter numbers. Number entry is a highly pervasive task, whether it be entering our PIN at an ATM, or dialing a phone number to entering in financial data or medical information. Sarah Wiseman investigates number entry interfaces, and looks at the important aspects to consider when designing them. http://nuxuk.org/2014/06/26/nux-leeds-28-aug-usable-number-entry

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