Influence of Landmark-based Navigation Instructions on User Attention in Indoor Smart Spaces

Petteri Nurmi; Antti Salovaara; Sourav Bhattacharya; Teemu Pulkkinen; Gerrit Kahl

In: Proceedings of the 16th international conference on Intelligent user interfaces. International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI-11), February 13-16, Palo Alto, CA, USA, Pages 33-42, IUI '11, ISBN 978-1-4503-0419-1, ACM, 2011.


Using landmark-based navigation instructions is widely con- sidered to be the most effective strategy for presenting navigation instructions. Among other things, landmark-based instructions can reduce the user’s cognitive load, increase confidence in navigation decisions and reduce the number of navigational errors. Their main disadvantage is that the user typically focuses considerable amount of attention on searching for landmark points, which easily results in poor awareness of the user’s surroundings. In indoor spaces, this implies that landmark-based instructions can reduce the attention the user pays on advertisements and commercial dis- plays, thus rendering the assistance commercially inviable. To better understand how landmark-based instructions influence the user’s awareness of her surroundings, we con- ducted a user study with 20 participants in a large national supermarket that investigated how the attention the user pays on her surroundings differs between two types of landmark- based instructions that vary in terms of their demand for visual attention. The results indicate that an increase in the visual demand of landmark-based instructions does not nec- essarily improve the participant’s recall of their surround- ing environment and that this increase can cause a decrease in navigation efficiency. The results also indicate that participants generally pay little attention to their surroundings and are more likely to rationalize than to actually remember much from their surroundings. Implications of the findings on navigation assistants are discussed.


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Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence