Mitchell and Shneiderman: Dynamic Versus Static Menus: An Exploratory Comparison

by Carson Reynolds

Mitchell and Shneiderman present a very interesting paper that tests one variety of adaptive interface. Testing static versus dynamic menu they found that participants took significantly longer to use the dynamic menu. Furthermore, participants subjectively preferred the static menu. I doesn’t appear that participants were allowed time to learn the new dynamic menu system. The dynamic menu exhibits one of the worst attributes of adaptive interfaces: constant change that destroys consistency. The findings presented here seem to conflict with the adaptive menu work done by Greeberg and Witten. They seemed to have proved very contrary results. One suspects the differences have to do with specifics of the adaptive menu design: Greenberg and Witten used a menu hierarchy while Mitchell and Shneiderman used a flat menu.