The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments

Advanced Visual Learning Systems

Can people predict what changes will make interfaces less frustrating, safer or easier to use? Can they predict what changes will help improve performance and efficiency, or decrease the amount of overall workload they may experience? The current project attempts to understand how people predict the workload they will incur while performing a task in the future.

Typically workload assessment occurs while a task is being performed or immediately upon completion of the task, however for prospective workload assessments, subjected workload evaluation tools are used to measure expected workload. The goals of the current project are to:

– Identify types of tasks for which workload can be successfully predicted
– Identify which facets of workload can be predicted successfully
-Identify which factors (instructions, metacognition, expertise, practice, etc.) correlate with successful predictions

The affects of workload may not always be apparent as devoting more mental resources may not increase performance or decrease frustration. Consequently it may be the leftover resources which are needed when emergencies arise (such as in surgery) that are most important. Although the research is still preliminary, the results suggest that some facets of workload are easier to predict, especially for initial attempts with novel tasks.

Sublette, M., Carswell, C. M., Grant, R., Klein, M., Seales, W. B., & Clarke, D. (2009). Anticipated vs. Experienced Workload: How Accurately Can People Predict Task Demand? Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 53rd Annual Meeting (pp. 1383-1387). San Antonio, TX: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Sublette, M., Carswell, C. M., Seidelman, W., Seales, W. B., & Clarke, D. (in press). A “White Space” Effect in Users’ Anticipation of the Challenges Involved in Using Everyday Products Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting. Las Vegas, NV: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Sublette, M., Carswell, M., Grant, R., Seidelman, W., Clarke, D., & Seales, B. (2010). Anticipating Workload: Which Facets of Task Difficulty are Easiest to Predict? In HFES (Ed.), Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 54th Annual Meeting (pp. 1704-1708). San Francisco: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

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