Peter Banton

Lecturer at Aix-Marseille Université

Link to Polytech site
Lien vers version française

I obtained my DPhil in experimental psychology from the University of York in England. I presently work as a lecturer in the Computer Science department of Polytech Marseille at the Luminy campus of Aix-Marseille University.


Contact information

Polytech Marseille
Département Informatique
163, Avenue de Luminy
Luminy case 925
13288 Marseille cedex 9

Tel : +33 (0)4 91 82 86 76
Secretary : +33 (0)4 91 82 85 10
Fax : +33 (0)4 91 82 86 71
Email : email address


Human-computer interaction (HCI) concerns the conception of systems which support user performance enabling efficient, easy and safe operation of the system. HCI is based on a knowledge of the skills and weaknesses of human operators in the fields of visual perception, memory and attention. HCI plays an important role in the design and development of a large range of information-processing systems, e.g.: air traffic control and the nuclear industry, where safety is paramount; personal computing, where productivity and satisfaction are important; and games, which should engage and amuse users.

Over two lecture courses we explore the methods, tools and theoretical knowledge underlying an approach to system design which puts the user first.

3rd-year course

Introduction of the concept of user-centred design.

  • consider the user as early as possible in the design process,

  • creating memorable user interfaces,

  • paper prototyping.

4th-year course

This course looks at two methods of gaining information about users: the scientific method and user testing.

  Scientific method.

  • extrapolation of information gained from a sample of a population to the population itself,

  • choosing the sample,

  • variables,

  • experimental design: from hypotheses to statistical testing,

  • analysing and interpreting the results.

  User testing. Less rigorous, but less costly and quicker, than classical experimentation, user testing is often used in commerce/industry.

  • pros and cons of user testing relative to classical experiments and questionnaires,

  • learly and advanced prototyping,

  • when and how to test users.

5th-year course

Cognition: visual perception, memory and attention. Performance modelling.

  • human visual perception,

  • problems inherent in 2D representations of 3D objects,

  • graphical coding,

  • constraints of human memory and attention,

  • human performance modelling.

5th-year specialisation

Virtual reality. An introduction to virtual reality: technologies; problems; and current solutions.

  • applications of virtual reality,

  • technologies for creating virtual worlds,

  • depth perception,

  • creating stereoscopic images,

  • advantages and disadvantages of stereoscopic imagery.

Research areas

Fitts' Law and the Steering law

Fitts' law predicts no effect of movement scale; it is scale independent. However, there is evidence in the literature that suggests that movement scale does affect performance on Fitts' tasks. In the traditional Fitts' law paradigm, the effect of movement scale is confounded with that of the index of difficulty of the task and target width.

Fitts' Law and the Steering law in virtual worlds

Fitts' law is an important tool in the HCI domain. The Steering law, however, is little used. Could these two laws be useful in virtual worlds?

Visual perception

How do we perceive depth relations between objects? Do we use the same depth cues? do we use them the same way?


Teaching projet in partnership with the CRVM: Using the Steering law for the evaluation and comparison of locomotion interfaces in a virtual environment


Global Deception Research Team (2006). A world of lies. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 37, 1, 60-74.

Banton, P., Thompson, P. & Quinlan, P. T. (2001). The effect of geometric field of view on stereoscopic spatial judgments. Human Factors, 43, 405-414.

Banton, P. (1999) A stereoscopic situation awareness display: optimisation of parameters. British Aerospace, MAD Warton - Technical Report.

Banton, P. (1998) Towards a three-dimensional stereoscopic radar display. Doctoral Thesis - University of York, England

Banton, P. & Thompson, P. (1998) Geometric field of view and location accuracy in stereoscopic radar display. Perception, 27, 149.

Banton, P. & Thompson, P. (1997). Uncoupling binocular disparity from relative luminance and relative size in stereoscopic displays. Perception, 26, 10, 4.

Banton, P. (1995). Effective 2D representation of 3D space: stereopsis and motion parallax in aircraft cockpit displays. Paper presented at British Aerospace Stereoscopy Workshop, BAe Brough, 23rd February, 1995.

Gellatly, A., Banton, P. & Woods, C. (1995). Salience and awareness in the Jacoby-Whitehouse effect, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 21, 5, 1374-1379.

No go area

Lecture notes only available to current students at the University of Aix-Marseille...