GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 186-7
Presentation Time: 9:40 AM


MAUDLIN, Lindsay C.1, MCNEAL, Karen S.1, ATKINS, Rachel2, DAVIS, Corey1, BOYLES, Ryan1 and ALDRIDGE, Heather Dinon1, (1)Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, (2)Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27607,

A web-based climate decision-making tool was created with the purpose of providing forestry stakeholders with climate information in an easy-to-understand format. This study uses eye tracking to assess the usability of the web-based climate decision-making tool developed by the Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation project (PINEMAP), PINEMAP Decision Support System (DSS). The aim of this eye-tracking study is to assist the designers of PINEMAP DSS in producing an efficient and informative web-based climate decision-making tool tailored for use by foresters, land managers, and land owners across the Southeastern US as they make decisions regarding the health and future of pine trees under a changing climate. Thirty-one forestry stakeholders completed a free-exploration of the website as well as three tasks and related multiple-choice questions. The free-exploration portion of the study allowed users to become acquainted with the website and provided insight into what users do when they are first exposed to the website (i.e., users read all of the information tabs, immediately use the tool, or demonstrate a combination of reading and using the tool). The tasks were designed in a scaffolding manner and to utilize various components of the website in order to determine how users interact with the website features. The tasks helped to identify which design aspects drew user attention or were salient and which confused or distracted users. Metrics that were measured include the length of time users spent navigating the climate information while completing the tasks, the accuracy of their answers, and the fixation count, the time to first fixation, and the total visit duration within several areas of interest (AOIs). Variables such as participant age, educational background, and gender were analyzed for influence on user performance on the assessed metrics. The results of this study, which have shown statistical significance between groups, eye-tracking metrics, and task performance, have already directed the website designers to make changes to the PINEMAP DSS to increase its usability and can serve as a model project for utilizing eye-tracking results during the development of climate decision management tools for a variety of end-users and stakeholders.