Using fNIRS in usability testing: understanding the effect of web form layout on mental workload
Lukanov, Kristiyan Emilov and Maior, Horia A. and Wilson, Max L. (2016) Using fNIRS in usability testing: understanding the effect of web form layout on mental workload. In: Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 7th-13th May 2016, San Jose, USA.
Official URL: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2858036.2858236
Amongst the many tasks in our lives, we encounter web forms on a regular basis, whether they are mundane like registering for a website, or complex and important like tax returns. There are many aspects of Usability, but one concern for user interfaces is to reduce mental workload and error rates. Whilst most assessment of mental workload is subjective and retrospective reporting by users, we examine the potential of functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) as a tool for objectively and concurrently measuring mental workload during usability testing. We use this technology to evaluate the design of three different form layouts for a car insurance claim process, and show that a form divided into subforms increases mental workload, contrary to our expectations. We conclude that fNIRS is highly suitable for objectively examining mental workload during usability testing, and will therefore be able to provide more detailed insight than summative retrospective assessments. Further, for the fNIRS community, we show that the technology can easily move beyond typical psychology tasks, and be used for more natural study tasks.
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