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OPTIMISING VIEWER COMPREHENSION AND SHAPING IMPRESSIONS AND ATTENTION: through the formatting of content in tools like Microsoft® PowerPoint®

Hilliard, Bruce (2016) OPTIMISING VIEWER COMPREHENSION AND SHAPING IMPRESSIONS AND ATTENTION: through the formatting of content in tools like Microsoft® PowerPoint®. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Presentation tools like PowerPoint® are used extensively (Park and Feigenson, 2013), but they are regularly criticised because they are poorly utilised (Schoeneborn, 2013). This research project was focussed on developing an integrated set of research-based guidelines, to help users enhance the application of these types of presentation software. The following steps were taken to develop these guidelines:

• A cross-discipline investigation of previous research was used to develop an understanding of the way the human brain processes visual information. This knowledge, and information from more than 1600 sources, was integrated to develop a set of tentative principles within a Unified Design Model (UDM). This UDM addresses visual attributes that include complexity, colour, background, layout, array, typography, graphics and animation. By addressing these aspects of the visualisation together the complex attribute synergies were able to be assessed, so their interactions could be managed more effectively.

• The validity of the tentative principles was assessed through an experimental program. These experiments tested a range of presentations and collected related viewer comprehension and impressions data, to determine the effects of differing visualisation techniques. Additionally, a subset of these presentations were tested through eye tracking experiments, to explore the effects of different visual treatments on viewer attention.

The collected data demonstrated that the integrated tentative principles generally facilitated good viewer comprehension and impressions. This outcome showed that previous research on this topic could be conjoined within a UDM to provide a cohesive visual design methodology. However, some suboptimal principles were identified from the experiments. These aspects were consequently addressed through the development of updated design guidelines. These give an empirically validated basis for applying tools like PowerPoint®, to enhance comprehension, attention and viewer impressions. Additionally, these guidelines supply a framework for conducting future integrated research on visual design.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Armarego, Jocelyn, Turk, Andrew and McGill, Tanya
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