Appendix D. Human Factors

Human Factors and Physiology

Sensation: Getting Information into Our Heads

Your mind is like a leaky bucket. It holds plenty of information, but can easily let information slip away and spill out. If you can understand how visual information is processed and collected, you can create effective visual interactive displays that resemble the way the mind works.

This can help to limit the cognitive load and risks of information loss during decision-making processes. Your perception model is complex, and there are many theories explaining its structure which is beyond the scope of this book. A general description of visual sensation and perception is described in this appendix.

Sensation is a process referring to the capture and transformation of information required for the process of perception to begin (Bailey 1996). Each of our sensors (eyes, ears, nose, skin, mouth) collects information, or stimuli, uniquely, but all will transform the stimulus energy into a form the brain can process.

Collecting visual stimuli: How the eye works

The eye is an organ responsible for vision. Many people use the analogy that our eye works like a camera. Both eye and camera have a lens, an aperture (pupil), and a sensor (retina). However, the manner in which sensing and processing occurs is very different. This should be understood at least a little by the designer in order to create displays that are easy to see and understand.

The eye collects, filters, and focuses light. Light ...

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