Ellis, J., Tran, C., Ryoo, J., Shneiderman, B. (June 1995)
Button bars are a relatively new interaction method intended to speed up application use as compared to pull-down menus. This exploratory study compares three command selection methods: pull-down menus, button bars, and user choice of pull-down menus or button bars. Effectiveness was measured in two ways: speed of selection and error rate. 15 participants performed 15 word processor related tasks. Results show that in frequently used functions, such as character attribute selection (bold, italic, underline, etc.), button bars are faster. There were no statistically significant differences in error rates between the three interaction methods.