Evaluation of a Text-Based Information Portrayal and Techniques for Constrained Area Presentation: A Comparison of Human Performance

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael E. Miller, PhD


To maximize visualization effectiveness, graphical data are commonly augmented with alphanumeric (i.e., text) symbols to provide detailed information and define specific values. This text is often provided through a pop-up dialog box which contains all of the alphanumeric data pertaining to an object simultaneously. However, a human performance cost can be associated with the current portrayal and access techniques as the resulting portrayal can occlude critical information in the visualization and degrade operator performance. This research included the development and evaluation of three alternate spatially-constrained text portrayal techniques. These techniques and their associated access interface were designed to reduce occlusion while providing rapid access to desired alphanumeric data. The techniques were comparatively evaluated using a dual-task human performance paradigm. Among the performance measures were accuracy, response time, and subjective feedback. The basis for development of the spatially-constrained text access techniques is discussed as well as their implementation affordances and limitations. The spatially-constrained text portrayal and access user interface concepts resulted in mixed accuracy and response time performance compared with the more conventional method. Specific design features promoted a 3X reduction in data access time versus unaided spatially-constrained text portrayal. Overall, it was shown that equivalent performance was obtained among the variants while the potential for occlusion was reduced during use of the novel designs.

AFIT Designator


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