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Understanding the effects of peripheral vision and muscle memory on in-vehicle touchscreen interactions

Understanding the effects of peripheral vision and muscle memory on in-vehicle touchscreen interactions

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It is important to gain a better understanding of how drivers interact with in-vehicle touchscreens to help design interfaces to minimise ‘eyes-off-road’ time. The study investigated the relative effects of two interaction mechanisms (peripheral vision – PV, muscle memory – MM) shown to be relevant to visual behaviour when driving, on the time to press different sized buttons (small 6 × 6 cm, medium 10 × 10 cm, large 14 × 14 cm) on an in-vehicle touchscreen. Twenty-five participants took part in a driving simulator study and were presented with a single, white, square button on 24 successive trials. For MM conditions, participants wore a pair of glasses blocking their PV and for PV conditions, they were asked to keep their focus on the vehicle ahead. Results showed that task time gradually decreased when participants could only use MM. However, overall task time for MM conditions were significantly higher than PV conditions. Participants rated the use of MM to be more difficult than PV. In contrast, results suggest that for interfaces that utilise peripheral visual processing, the learning effect is not evident and operation times are constant over time. These findings indicate that in-vehicle touch screens should be designed to utilise PV for making simple button selections with reduced visual demand.

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