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Modeling the visual search of displays: A revised ACT-R/PM model of icon search based on eye-tracking and experimental data

By Michael D. Fleetwood and Michael D. Byrne


Because of the visual nature of computer use, researchers and designers of computer systems would like to gain some insight into the visual search strategies of computer users. Icons, a common component of graphical user interfaces, serve as the focus for a set of studies aimed at (1) developing a detailed understanding of how people search for an icon in a typically crowded screen of other icons that vary in similarity to the target, and (2) building a cognitively plausible model that simulates the processes inferred in the human search process. An eye-tracking study of the task showed that participants rarely refixated icons that they had previously examined, and that participants used an efficient search strategy of examining distractor icons nearest to their current point of gaze. These findings were integrated into an ACT-R model of the task using EMMA and a “nearest ” strategy. The model fit the response time data of participants as well as a previous model of the task, but was a much better fit to the eye movement data. Michael Fleetwood is an applied cognitive scientist with interests in human performanc

Year: 2003
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