Map Design: A Simulator Evaluation of the Factors
Affecting the Time to Read Electronic Navigation Displays

Aaron Brooks and Paul Green

November, 1998

This report concerns the second of four experiments examining the time to read electronic maps while driving. Twenty subjects (ages 18-30 and 65+, equal numbers of men and women) drove the UMTRI driving simulator while performing one of three tasks: (1) identify the street being driven, (2) find the name of a cross street ahead, and (3) locate a particular street. The screen was located 24.5 degrees below horizontal and 34 degrees right of center, with a viewing distance of about 76 cm.

Four factors were varied: (1) the number of streets displayed (12, 24, and 36), (2) the percentage of streets labeled (33, 66, and 100 percent), (3) the street name label size (10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 point), and (4) the display location (high and low on the center console).

Age had the largest effect on task response times, with older subjects taking 44 to 66 percent longer. Overall, the best text size was 14 point, although clutter effects were seen when maps had more than 16 labeled streets. For older subjects, the use of 10 point text yielded the longest response times (up to 40 percent longer than 14 point). Response times increased more with additional labeled streets than unlabeled ones.

Display location effects were only tested using task one (On-street). The high display location produced response times that were 10 percent faster than the low position.

Graphical Abstract (.pdf) | UMTRI-98-7 Full Report (.pdf)


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