Visual momentum in small ecological displays
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In many domains users view information on small displays. Although the Ecological Interface Design (EID) framework has been used to design displays in various domains, examples of the application of the framework to small displays are uncommon. One way to help extend the application of EID to small displays may be through learning how to best support performance and visual momentum in small displays designed using the EID framework. In order to address this question, the present research specifically explored whether integration of system information on displays (i.e., presenting it in parallel rather than serially), and whether manipulation of certain characteristics of display visual form, helped improve performance with small ecological displays. In this study, different groups of novice camera users performed real photography tasks of variable difficulty using small separated and integrated ecological displays of a manual SLR camera. The camera system was shown on display screens using different visual form: it was either consistent, where all display information (i.e., graphical objects) was represented using similar visual codes, or inconsistent, where all display information was represented using different visual codes. Integrated displays also differed in how the camera system information was grouped: in the task integrated displays, the system information required for normal task accomplishment was integrated, while in the system integrated displays, the system information functionally related to the two main camera processes was integrated. Results of the empirical analysis show benefits of integration, evidenced by improved performance with small integrated displays compared to small separated displays. Importantly, integration was advantageous for unfamiliar (more complex) tasks. Findings of this study did not demonstrate the hypothesized advantages of task based integration over system based integration for familiar tasks, or advantages of system based integration over task based integration for unfamiliar tasks. However, several of the dependent measures demonstrated that system integrated displays supported overall performance better than task integrated displays. Using consistent display pattern on small ecological displays created performance advantages, and consistent visual form displays were especially effective for unfamiliar types of tasks. Recommendations for the design of small ecological displays that were defined based on the results of this research should help extend application of the EID framework to small displays.