ERIC Number: EJ741194
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun
Searching for Signs, Symbols, and Icons: Effects of Time of Day, Visual Complexity, and Grouping
McDougall, Sine; Tyrer, Victoria; Folkard, Simon
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, v12 n2 p118-128 Jun 2006
Searching for icons, symbols, or signs is an integral part of tasks involving computer or radar displays, head-up displays in aircraft, or attending to road traffic signs. Icons therefore need to be designed to optimize search times, taking into account the factors likely to slow down visual search. Three factors likely to adversely affect visual search were examined: the time of day at which search was carried out, the visual complexity of the icons, and the extent to which information features in the icon were grouped together. The speed with which participants searched icon arrays for a target was slower early in the afternoon, when icons were visually complex and when information features in icons were not grouped together to form a single object. Theories of attention that account for both feature-based and object-based search best explain these findings and are used to form the basis for ways of improving icon design.
Descriptors: Signs, Attention, Database Design, Computer Interfaces, Metadata, Online Searching, Design Requirements, Systems Approach
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A