User-Directed Organization of Displays Under Time Stress

  • Carswell, Catherine (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


User-Directed Organization of Displays Under Time Stress C. Melody Carswell, Ph.D. (PI) Department of Psychology and Center for Visualization and Virtual Environment University of Kentucky This research will evaluate the costs and benefits of giving individual decision makers control over the way dynamic information is spatially organized during time-critical tasks. User control is sometimes touted as a way to increase user engagement and situation awareness, as a way to reduce user stress, and as a means to support decision-making tasks that are unanticipated by display designers. However, there may also be costs associated with allowing users to customize the spatial layout of task-critical information. These include performance decrements resulting from the selection of inappropriate spatial organizations, and a potential increase in mental workload associated with the demands of visualization management. We will investigate how decision makers select and manipulate spatial layouts while performing two types of tasks that simulate command and control of first responders. In the Map Task, decisionmakers will use information about target positions within an urban landscape to make deployment decisions. They will be able to freely toggle between different spatial viewpoints (3-d, plan-view, elevations). In the Matrix Task, decision makers will assign emergency response teams to neighborhoods as a function of information presented in a dynamic matrix of neighborhood descriptors. Matrix cells may be dragged to any location to meet momentary task demands. Time stress will be manipulated in both tasks by varying event rates and by presenting countdown clocks that give decision makers different time windows in which to respond. Deliverables Phase 1 will focus on describing the natural (spontaneous) strategies decision makers use to manage the information visualizations at their disposal. This information will allow us to determine . whether, in the absence of training in visualization management skills, designer-controlled rather than user-controlled formats are indicated. . what type of user training is needed to support the most effective implementation of usercontrolled formats. In Phase 2, we will make direct comparisons between the performance of decision makers using displays of three types: 1) user-controlled (with decision-makers trained in visualization management), 2) fixed-format, and 3) "smart" task-dependent displays (i.e., displays that automatically switch layouts in anticipation of changing task demands). We will determine whether, relative to other display design frameworks, user control influences any of the following outcomes: . decision makers' stress, mental workload, and situation awareness. . decision-making efficiency (correct decision per unit time)
Effective start/end date2/15/058/31/07


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.