M3 Gesture Menu: Design and Experimental Analyses of Marking Menus for Touchscreen Mobile Interaction


Despite their learning advantages in theory, marking menus have faced adoption challenges in practice, even on today's touchscreen-based mobile devices. We address these challenges by designing, implementing, and evaluating multiple versions of M3 Gesture Menu (M3), a reimagination of marking menus targeted at mobile interfaces. M3 is defined on a grid rather than in a radial space, relies on gestural shapes rather than directional marks, and has constant and stationary space use. Our first controlled experiment on expert performance showed M3 was faster and less error-prone by a factor of two than traditional marking menus. A second experiment on learning demonstrated for the first time that users could successfully transition to recall-based execution of a dozen commands after three ten-minute practice sessions with both M3 and Multi-Stroke Marking Menu. Together, M3, with its demonstrated resolution, learning, and space use benefits, contributes to the design and understanding of menu selection in the mobile-first era of end-user computing.