MP logo MP title

Cecília Sik-Lányi: Optimizing computer-presented information for left-handed observers

We conducted an experiment to test the hypothesis that left- and right-handed people - due to differences in the cortical processing of perceived information - will respond differently if a signal is presented in the left or right peripheral visual zone. Experiments showed small differences between left - and right-handed people, which could be partially traced back to differences between their motor skills. We know that the two halves of the human brain differentiate between the tasks they are given in essence, verbal information is processed on the left side. This half of the brain guides the right hand in writing the information, whereas the right hemisphere normally perceives pictorial information. It is usually better at processing images and is responsible for left-hand motor skills. Most people are right-handed. About 10 per cent of us are, however, left-handed but live in a right-handed world. For this reason, they encounter numerous difficulties. Computer screen designs might reflect the differences between users. This might be even more important in educational multimedia applications as modern teaching theory favours allowing left-handed children to remain left-handed and attempts to provide them with tools optimised for their use. The fundamental idea we wanted to test was the following: given a normal visual task in the middle of a computer screen followed by a special task on one side of the screen, is there a difference in the responses of right- and left-handed people if the task appears on the right or the left. We attempted to differentiate between tasks where the meaning of a sign had to be recognised (letters are identified by the left hemisphere of the brain), and where pictorial information was used (perhaps processed primarily by the right hemisphere). The experiments were conducted using a PC with a 19" screen. The angular distance between the task seen in the middle of the screen and on the right or left side was approximately 18°. Experiments conducted up to now show that there is a difference in the way different types of information are observed. Both right � and left-handed observers have the shortest reaction time for pictogram observation and the longest for text identification. Differences between processing information presented on the left or right side of a screen seem to be smaller than other motor skill differences. If one is accustomed to observing one type of information in a given part of the screen, it is more important to keep that location constant than to adjust it for different observers.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 99. Number 4. 413-423. (1999)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Sikné dr. Lányi Cecília, Department of Image Processing and Neurocomputing, University of Veszprém, H-8200 Veszprém, Egyetem u.10.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia