Title page for ETD etd-06132007-143300

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McMahan, Ryan Patrick
Author's Email Address rymcmaha@vt.edu
URN etd-06132007-143300
Title Exploring and Evaluating Task Sequences for System Control Interfaces in Immersive Virtual Environments
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bowman, Douglas A. Committee Chair
North, Christopher L. Committee Member
Prez-Quiones, Manuel A. Committee Member
  • Immersive virtual environments
  • system control
  • 3D user interfaces
  • system control interface
  • task sequence
Date of Defense 2007-06-04
Availability unrestricted
System control – the issuing of commands – is a critical, but largely unexplored task in 3D user

interfaces (3DUIs) for immersive virtual environments (IVEs). System control techniques are

normally encompassed by complex interfaces that define how these interaction techniques fit

together, which we call system control interfaces (SCIs). Creating a testbed to evaluate these

SCIs would be beneficial to researchers and would lead to guidelines for choosing a SCI for

particular application scenarios. Unfortunately, a major problem in creating such a testbed is the

lack of a standard task sequence – the order of operations in a system control task.

In this research, we identify various task sequences, such as the Action-Object and Object-

Action task sequences, and evaluate the effects that these sequences have on usability, in hopes

of establishing a standard task sequence. Two studies were used to estimate the cognitive effort

induced by task sequences and, hence, the effects that these sequences have on user performance.

We found that sequences similar to the Object-Action task sequence induce less cognitive time

than sequences similar to the Action-Object task sequence. A longitudinal study was then used to

analyze user preferences for task sequences as novices became experienced users with using an

interior design application. We found that novices and experienced users alike prefer sequences

like the Object-Action over sequences like the Action-Object task sequence.

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