Mendel: Understanding the Relative Attentional Demands of the Dimensions of Interface Consistency

Understanding the Relative Attentional Demands of the Dimensions of Interface Consistency

A dissertation proposal by Jeremy Mendel

Monday, April 16, 2012 10am in Brackett 419

Committee:
Dr. Richard Pak, Chair
Dr. Leo Gugerty
Dr. Joel Greenstein
Dr. Christopher Pagano

Abstract: Interface consistency is thought to be beneficial because it allows users to draw on previous training and experience when operating a new interface. Design guidelines like the eight golden rules of interface design argue that a high degree of interface consistency improves system usability (Shneiderman, 1987). However, interface consistency is not monolithic; instead it is a complex, multidimensional construct. Previous work examined the independent effect of the different dimensions of interface consistency. These studies resulted in conflicting views of interface consistency ranging from positive, negative, and no effect. The comparative effects of the different dimensions of consistency are still unclear. Further, our previous work suggests that interface consistency interacts with task workload. Specifically, a task must be sufficiently challenging to observe a significant effect of interface consistency. The goal of the present study is to assess the differential attentional demands resulting from interface consistency (or inconsistency).

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