Simulation reality and stereotype strength : A problem for equipment designers

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


In designing human-machine interfaces, it may be necessary for designers to simulate the interface in order to find an acceptable arrangement of controls and displays which have a high expectancy of the relationship between these. We report experiments aimed at determining the level of simulation required to obtain valid measures of stereotype strength relating control movement to display movement. Two experiments are reported, using devices of apparently low and high complexity. Low complexity devices were similar to electronic devices that might be used in the home; the chosen high complexity device was a crane control cabin. For two-dimensional control/display arrangements a low level of simulation generally gave valid results for stereotype strength; a high level of simulation is required for three-dimensional arrangements. With the more complex crane control system, there was a strong effect of the control layout, but little effect of the level of simulation: paper/pencil tests performed as well as computer simulation in giving stereotype strengths. Implications for designers are discussed. Relevance to industry: Designers need to make decisions about the relationship between movements of controls and the consequent movement of a device output. This paper demonstrates conditions under which simple paper/pencil tests may be used, or where it is necessary to use hardware tests, to determine good control/display arrangements. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Display/control relationships, Movement stereotypes, Simulation level