The effects of icon design and background color on visual search performance and user preferences

Bumin, Barış
One of the most crucial points for the graphical user interfaces is that visual information on the screen must be perceived accurately, fast and effortlessly as much as possible. However, perceiving visual information accurately and finding their location on the screen requires some visual search even in familiar operating environments. Thus, visual search performance is an effective way in order to measure the effects of different visual presentation on users’ processing speed. In the present study, the effects of two variables that may affect visual search performance which are background color of interface and figure/background contrast ratio as a feature of an icon design are investigated through two background color and four icon design alternatives with 83 participants. As a result of that, both task completion time and users’ subjective preferences were gathered to assess the effects of visual presentation thanks to the software developed in order to store logs of task completion time and users’ preferences. The results of the experiment revealed that; The background color of an interface and icons has crucial effects on visual search performance. - There is a significant interaction between users’ preferences and background color. Icon sets without backgrounds are evaluated with higher ratings on dark themes. - There is not a direct correlation between visual search performance and users’ preferences in terms of icon design. The alternatives which were evaluated with higher subjective ratings are not necessarily distinguished with the task completion time.


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Citation Formats
B. Bumin, “The effects of icon design and background color on visual search performance and user preferences,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2020.