Embedded objects in fields

Judy Perry jperryl at ecs.fullerton.edu
Tue Jul 5 12:05:40 EDT 2005

Yes, and one of my favorites to use in teaching is "The Art of the
Obvious" (Lind, Johnson & Sandblad, CHI 1992).

While it is largely concerned with "automatically processed components of
the task of reading frequently used documents", the authors contend that
their findings suggest "implications for task analysis and interface

Specifically, they (and others) have posited that one of the very few
visual attributes that humans always automatically (without additional
conscious processing or thought) register is location.

Thus, scrolling buttons =  requires higher-level brain function and this
does not making using an interface analogous to the eventual functional
automaticity of, say, driving a car.

Fascinating read; if anyone's interested, I can email you the PDF.
Basically, their experimental design was to take hospital and other
medical charts, remove the higher-level data (numbers and specific
letters) and replace them all with XXXs in an emergency room context to
see if/how the doctors could still roughly review the "information" for
rapid diagnoses ... and... they could because they were familiar with the
layout of the various forms and knew what the presence (or absence) of
those XXXs in specific locations could signify.


On Tue, 5 Jul 2005, Thomas McGrath III wrote:

> I agree. It is not good moving buttons in fields or groups. It makes it
> too hard for users to develop a motor plan for those buttons. A motor
> plan is what happens during touch typing or even during walking where
> our muscles develop a plan to those activities without having to think
> about it.

> There have been hundreds of papers and years of research done on this.

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