Mental models for time displayed tasks
Fleischman, Joyce D.
Lind, Judith H.
Roberts, Benjamin J.
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The study described in this thesis attempts to determine whether there is a mental model for time-ordered tasks. The results of this study may be used to assist in the design of cockpit display formats for the Intelligent Air Attack System (IAAS) in the F/A-18, A-6 or other Navy and Air Force tactical aircraft, and may be applicable to telecommunications systems as well. Basic human factors engineering concepts and the characteristics of IAAS and of the Naval Telecommunications System are described. The approach and methodology for determining whether there is a consistent mental model for time-ordered tasks is discussed, and the results of a survey are presented. Based on this survey, it was determined that mental models for time-ordered tasks are not always the same, but instead are task-dependent. Schedules are most logically presented in a calendar-like format. For telecommunications related tasks, a front-to-back format is recommended. For time-ordered events in an aircraft cockpit, a top-to-bottom display order was preferred by a majority of study participants, but aviators preferred a left-to-right presentation.
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