Graphical and iconic interfacing : the role of icon distinctiveness and fixed or variable screen locations

Green, Alison and Barnard, Philip (1990). Graphical and iconic interfacing : the role of icon distinctiveness and fixed or variable screen locations. In: Diaper, D.; Gilmore, D.; Cockton, G. and Shackel, B. eds. INTERACT '90 Proceedings of the IFIP TC13 Third Interational Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. Oxford, U.K.: North Holland/Elsevier Science & Technology, pp. 457–462.

Abstract

This study examined the ease with which icons differing in visual distinctiveness are learned and searched in either fixed or variable screen locations. Previous research by Arend, Muthig and Wandmacher (1987) found that with random arrays, abstract icons were searched faster than representational icons. The present experiment manipulated the degree of locational ambiguity within arrays of abstract and representational icons in order to identify general principles governing the learning and searching of icon arrays. Results clearly show that differences between search times for abstract and representational icons are substantially reduced with arrays in which the position of all icons remained fixed. These and more detailed findings are used to frame constraints which may be governing cognitive activity in search and select tasks.

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