Hotkey Trainer

Hotkeys are extremely useful in leveraging expert performance, but learning them is a slow process. We investigated alternative menu designs that can motivate and help users remember associations between menu commands and hotkeys. Building upon previous work on paired-associate learning, we suggested that the transition to expert use can be accelerated by manipulating feedback and cost associated with menu selection. We evaluated five designs in a pilot study and then two of the most promising ones in a formal experiment, showing that the speed of hotkey learning can indeed be significantly increased with little modifications to the standard menu/hotkey paradigm.


Grossman, T., Dragicevic, P., and Balakrishnan, R. 2007. Strategies for accelerating on-line learning of hotkeys. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 - May 03, 2007). CHI '07. ACM, New York, NY, 1591-1600.

Command Dataset

For our study we used a dataset of 72 commands organized in 6 categories. Each command is a familar object (cat, banana, etc.) and has a corresponding icon and an audio recording of its name. We ensured icon/name associations were trivial and unique. Our dataset has also been used by Caroline Appert in another study. You can download our dataset here (3MB zip). Please reference the paper above if you use it for your own study. All icons are from the public domain.



License infoCreative Commons License