Comparing written and photo-based indoor wayfinding instructions through eye fixation measures and user ratings as mental effort assessments
The use of mobile pedestrian wayfinding applications is gaining importance indoors. However, compared to outdoors, much less research has been conducted with respect to the most adequate ways to convey indoor wayfinding information to a user. An explorative study was conducted to compare two pedestrian indoor wayfinding applications, one text-based (SoleWay) and one image-based (Eyedog), in terms of mental effort. To do this, eye tracking data and mental effort ratings were collected from 29 participants during two routes in an indoor environment. The results show that both textual instructions and photographs can enable a navigator to find his/her way while experiencing no or very little cognitive effort or difficulties. However, these instructions must be in line with a user’s expectations of the route, which are based on his/her interpretation of the indoor environment at decision points. In this case, textual instructions offer the advantage that specific information can be explicitly and concisely shared with the user. Furthermore, the study drew attention to potential usability issues of the wayfinding aids (e.g. the incentive to swipe) and, as such, demonstrated the value of eye tracking and mental effort assessments in usability research.
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