Eye Movements Between Text and Warnings in Product Owner's Manuals

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Title: Eye Movements Between Text and Warnings in Product Owner's Manuals
Author: Cowley, Jennifer Antonia
Advisors: Michael S. Wogalter, Committee Co-Chair
Eric N. Wiebe, Committee Co-Chair
Douglas J. Gillan, Committee Member
Abstract: This research examines some design features that may increase noticeability, readership and recall of warnings within the text of product owner’s manuals. Variables manipulated were warning saliency (e.g., low or high saliency), the physical placement of warnings in text (e.g., embedded versus separate), and text-directed cueing (e.g., low versus high salient cueing) in a fractional factorial design. Warnings were made salient by adding signal word panel color, alert symbol icons, bulleted text and black borders. Low salient warnings lacked those features and the warning was given in paragraph prose-style text. Two conditions, a non-eye tracked and an eye-tracked, underwent similar procedures to assess reading and recall of the warning information. Six groups comprised the non-eye tracked sample: each group viewed a unique condition with a unique combination of warning features. The eye-tracked sample viewed 2 opposing conditions with warning feature combinations that comprised a low and high salient condition. While there were no significant group differences in warning information recall accuracy in the non-eye tracked samples, the low salient conditions in the eye-tracked samples had higher recall accuracy than the high salient conditions. Also, the high salient conditions with high salient cues, significantly shifted visual attention to cued warnings more often than the low salient conditions with low salient cues. However, the eye-tracked sample failed to show significance differences for noticing and reading between low and high salient conditions. In addition, the assessment of the first three fixations indicated that participants may initially scan page contents before reading onset at the top left corner of the page, however fixation locations were not influenced by warning locations. Future research directions and study implications are addressed.
Date: 2009-04-23
Degree: MS
Discipline: Psychology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1731

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