RSVP Visual Search Study

Identifying genes of interest using electronic fluorescent pictographs (eFP images) can be a daunting task. To be successful, researchers must find subtle differences between similar images. A display technique called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) could improve the experience by exploiting our ability to recognize differences between images when they are flashed on a screen in a rapid and serial manner.

This HCI study explores the use of rapid serial visual presentation as an interaction method for visual search tasks. It was presented at Big Data Visual Analytics, November 22, 2016, Sydney, Australia:

Jamie Waese, Wolfgang Stuerzlinger, Nicholas J. Provart (2016) An Evaluation of Interaction Methods for Controlling RSVP Displays in Visual Search Tasks. IEEE Proceedings of the International Symposium on Big Data Visual Analytics, November 22, 2016, Sydney, Australia.

Category Research, UX Design

Date November 2016

A rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) display of twelve eFP images (250ms each).

RSVP is best known for reading applications such as Spritz.

It has not traditionally been used for search applications, but an RSVP feature might help users identify genes of interest by rapidly scanning through a series of eFP images as if they were flipping through a book.

We compared three different RSVP interface methods for selecting genes of interest against a traditional point and click interface. We ran a study with 81 student participants randomly assigned to one of four groups, with each group tasked with answering the same ten questions. Each group was given a different user interface to control the speed and order in which electronic fluorescent pictograph (eFP) images are displayed on the screen. This figure shows the three methods we tested: “Slide Show”, “Hover” and “Velocity Control”. A fourth group, our control group, was given a non-RSVP interface that required them to point and click on the button associated with the image they want to see.

We found the “Hover” method to be fastest, and that “Slide Show” and “Velocity Control” are no better than “Point and Click” (F3, 70 = 4.44, p = 0.0065, β = 0.999). We did not find significant differences between the groups with regards to accuracy. This supports our hypothesis that accuracy is not compromised when using RSVP for visual search (F3, 76=0.4468, ns, β = 0.705).

These findings justify our inclusion of an RSVP display feature into ePlant, and they informed our decisions on the interface design. The project is more fully described in the paper.