f some of the information items on a structured computer display are highlighted, they can form a figural pattern on the screen. In field studies of computer users at work, we had observed that in some situations, interpretation of a display could be made by mere recognition of such patterns. In two experiments we investigated how figural patterns formed by highlighted items affected search time and visual process ing time in simple decision making tasks. The information items critical for the deci sion were either highlighted and formed a pattern, or, they were not highlighted and no pattern was formed. The results show that search time, as well as visual processing time was significantly and substantially shorter in the pattern conditions compared to the control condition. A model which assumes that highlighting the critical items causes sequential search to be replaced by pattern recognition, predicted the observed response times well. Different methods of highlight: colour; shading; italic font; smaller characters and empty space were equally efficient in reducing search time.
NATURVETENSKAP -- Data- och informationsvetenskap (hsv//swe)
NATURAL SCIENCES -- Computer and Information Science (hsv//eng)