On effects of changing multi-attribute table design to decision making: An eye tracking study

Takashi Ideno, Masahiro Morii, Kazuhisa Takemura and Mitsuhiro Okada


Information tables are often used for decision making. This study considers multi-attribute table designs from a diagrammatic perspective. We used two experiments to show how the decision-making strategies and performance are changed based on table design changes, using the eye-tracking method. We employed a multi-attribute catalog table with alternatives presented along the horizontal axis and attributes along the vertical axis in Experiment 1 and the opposite layout in Experiment 2. In each experiment, we used four different types of representations of the attribute values, and these values were restricted to two levels for comparison with previous works. The four types used were: (i) numerical representations, (ii) textual representations, (iii) black-and-white representations with black representing better values, and (iv) black-and-while representations with white representing better values. Our results suggest, among others, that (1) placing the alternatives along the vertical axis makes the table easier to decide in comparison to the opposite layout, and that (2) the two-stage decision strategy is taken with numerical representations and textual representations, while a single stage strategy is taken with the black-and-white representations. We also showed how the graphic black-and-white representations made decision-making easier, and how the order changes of alternatives and of attributes of a table influenced decision makers’ decision.

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