Description: Human auditory perception is suited to receiving and interpreting information from the environment but this knowledge has not been used extensively in designing computer-based information exploration tools. It is not known which aspects of sound are useful for accurately conveying information in an auditory display. An auditory display was created using PD, a graphical programming language used primarily to manipulate digital sound. The interface for the auditory display was a blank window. When the cursor is moved around in this window, the sound generated would changed based on the underlying data value at any given point. An experiment was conducted to determine which attribute of sound most accurately represents data values in an auditory display. The four attributes of sound tested were frequency-sine waveform, frequency-sawtooth waveform, loudness and tempo. 24 subjects were given the task of finding the highest data point using sound alone using each of the four sound treatments. Three dependent variables were measured: distance accuracy, numeric accuracy, and time on task. Repeated measures ANOVA procedures conducted on these variables did not rise to the level of statistical significance (α=.05). None of the sound treatments was more accurate than the other as representing the underlying data values. 52% of the trials were accurate within 50 pixels of the highest data point (target). An interesting finding was the tendency for the frequency-sin waveform to be used in the least accurate trial attempts (38%). Loudness, on the other hand, accounted for very few (12.5%) of the least accurate trial attempts. In completing the experimental task, four different search techniques were employed by the subjects: perimeter, parallel sweep, sector, and quadrant. The perimeter technique was the most commonly used.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Holmes, Jason