Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
We reduced time to detect target symbols in mock radar screens by adding perceptual boundaries that partitioned displays in accordance with task instructions. Targets appeared among distractor symbols either close to or far from the display center, and participants were instructed to find the target closest to the center. Search time increased with both number of distractors and distance of target from center. However, when close and far regions were delineated by a centrally presented "range ring," the distractor effect was substantially reduced. In addition, eye movement patterns more closely resembled a task-efficient spiral when displays contained a range ring. Results suggest that the addition of perceptual boundaries to visual displays can help to guide search in accordance with task-directed constraints. Actual or potential applications of this research include the incorporation of perceptual boundaries into display designs in order to encourage task-efficient scanpaths (as identified via task analysis and/or empirical testing).
Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 46, 3, 551-556.