Eye-Tracking Assessment of the Usability of a Web-based Climate Decision-making Tool Used by Forestry Stakeholders in the Southeastern US

Friday 3:15pm Weeks Geo: 140
Oral Presentation


Lindsay Maudlin, North Carolina State University
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Ryan Boyles, North Carolina State University
Heather Dinon Aldridge, North Carolina State University
Corey Davis, North Carolina State University
Rachel Atkins, North Carolina State University
This work uses eye tracking to assess the usability of the web-based climate decision-making tool developed by the Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation project (PINEMAP), PINEMAP Decision Support System (DSS). The aim of this eye-tracking study is to assist the designers of PINEMAP DSS in producing an efficient and informative web-based climate decision-making tool tailored for use by foresters, land managers, and land owners across the Southeastern US as they make decisions regarding the health and future of pine trees under a changing climate. Thirty forestry stakeholders participated in the study, which consisted of free-exploration of the website followed by the completion of three tasks and related multiple-choice questions. The free-exploration portion of the study provides information on what users do when they are first exposed to the website (i.e., some users read all of the information tabs, some users immediately use the tool, and some users demonstrate a combination of reading and using the tool). The tasks were designed to utilize components of the website in order to determine how users interact with the website features, which design aspects draw user attention or are salient, and which design aspects confuse or distract users. Metrics that were measured include the length of time users spent navigating the climate information while completing the tasks and answering questions, accuracy of their responses, and fixation time and total duration within an area of interest (AOI). Furthermore, variables such as participant age, educational background, and gender were analyzed for influence on user performance on the assessed metrics. The results of this study will inform website designers and address the aspects of the PINEMAP DSS website as well as serve as a model project for utilizing eye-tracking results during the development of climate decision management tools for a variety of end-users and stakeholders.