Context Information in Guiding Visual Search: The Role of Color and Orientation
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At work and at leisure people perform various visual search tasks, e.g. they search for a particular icon in software tools, on Web sites or on mobile phones. With an increasing number of items, visual search becomes difficult. Recently, it has been suggested that the so-called contextual cueing effect, which is known from psychological experiments, can be applied to improve visual search performance. Contextual cueing leads to decreased search times for target objects within familiar context configurations. It is assumed that associations between context configurations and target locations are learned implicitly and then used to guide the allocation of attention to the relevant object. In accordance with demands for interface consistency, this mechanism could be interesting for the development of user interfaces. The present study investigated which object features (e.g. color or orientation) can establish the learning process. The results show that implicit learning of color and orientation arrangements are possible, but the transfer to configuration with changed features depends on the recent learning history. Implications of these results are discussed with respect to the design of user interfaces.
KeywordsInterface Consistency Contextual Cueing Visual Attention Learning
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