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Durham e-Theses
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Visual search and VDUS

Scott, Derek (1991) Visual search and VDUS. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This wide-ranging study explored various parameters of visual search in relation to computer screen displays. Its ultimate goal was to help identify factors which could result in improvements in commercially available displays within the 'real world’. Those improvements are generally reflected in suggestions for enhancing efficiency of locatabolity of information through an acknowledgement of the visual and cognitive factors involved. The thesis commenced by introducing an ergonomics approach to the presentation of information on VDUs. Memory load and attention were discussed. In the second chapter, literature on general and theoretical aspects of visual search (with particular regard for VDUs) was reviewed. As an experimental starting point, three studies were conducted involving locating a target within arrays of varying configurations. A model concerning visual lobes was proposed. Two text-editing studies were then detailed showing superior user performances where conspicuity and the potential for peripheral vision are enhanced. Relevant eye movement data was combined with a keystroke analysis derived from an automated protocol analyser. Results of a further search task showed icons to be more quickly located within an array than textual material. Precise scan paths were then recorded and analyses suggested greater systematicity of search strategies for complex items. This led on to a relatively 'pure' search study involving materials of varying spatial frequencies. Results were discussed in terms of verbal material generally being of higher spatial frequencies and how the ease of resolution and greater cues available in peripheral vision can result in items being accessed more directly. In the final (relatively applied) study, differences in eye movement indices were found across various fonts used. One main conclusion was that eye movement monitoring was a valuable technique within the visual search/VDU research area in illuminating precise details of performance which otherwise, at best, could only be inferred.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1991
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:07

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