Assessment of Visualization Interfaces for Assisting the Development of Multi-level Cognitive Maps
People often become disoriented and frustrated when navigating complex, multi-level buildings. We argue that the principle reason underlying these challenges is insufficient access to the requisite information needed for developing an accurate mental representation, called a multi-level cognitive map. We postulate that increasing access to global landmarks (i.e., those visible from multiple locations/floors of a building) will aid spatial integration between floors and the development of these representations. This prediction was investigated in three experiments, using either direct perception or Augmented Reality (AR) visualizations. Results of Experiment 1 demonstrated that increasing visual access to a global landmark promoted multi-level cognitive map development, supporting our hypothesis. Experiment 2 revealed no reliable performance benefits of using two minimalist (icon-based and wire-frame) visualization techniques. Experiment 3, using a third X-ray visualization, showed reliably better performance for not only a no-visualization control but also the gold standard of direct window access. These results demonstrate that improving information access through principled visualizations benefit multi-level cognitive map development.
KeywordsMulti-level indoor wayfinding Multi-level cognitive maps Human factors Visualization interface design X-ray visualization
This research was supported by NSF grant CHS-1425337 and NIH grant R01-EY019924-07.
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