Apparency of Contingencies in Single Panel Menus

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1998-10-15

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What we see is not always what we get. This is the problem when the underlying structure of an interface is hidden from the user's view. Users high in Spatial Visualization Ability (SVA), are quick to learn the contingencies of these relationships and are not hindered by this problem. Low SVA users, however, have difficulty visualizing these contingencies and often get lost. We examined data for 97 undergraduate students to determine whether revealing hidden contingencies though visual cues would facilitate Low SVA users, enabling them to approach the level of performance of High SVA users on a computerized path finding task. It was found that increasing interface apparency does seem to benefit all users, but particularly those with Low SVA. (Also cross-referenced as CAR-TR-824)

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