UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The impact of individual differences on visualization effectiveness and gaze behaviour : informing the design of user adaptive interventions Toker, Dereck J


Research has shown that individual differences can play a role in information visualization effectiveness. Unfortunately, results are limited given that there are so many individual differences that exist, and information visualizations are commonly designed without taking into account these user differences. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the impact of a specific set of individual differences (i.e., user characteristics) in order to identify which of these user differences have an impact on various aspects of information visualization performance. Eye tracking is also employed, in order to see if there is an impact of individual differences on user gaze behavior, both in general and for specific information visualization elements (i.e., legend, labels). In order to gather the necessary data, a user study is conducted, where users are required to complete a series of tasks on two common information visualizations: bar graphs and radar graphs. For each user, the following set of user characteristics are measured: perceptual speed, visual working memory, verbal working memory, and visualization expertise. Using various statistical models, results indicate that user characteristics do have a significant impact on visualization performance in terms of task completion time, visualization preference, and visualization ease-of-use. Furthermore, it is also found that user characteristics have a significant impact on user gaze behavior, and these individual differences can also influence how a user processes specific elements within a given information visualization.

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