Proceedings: GI 2013

The effects of display fidelity, visual complexity, and task scope on spatial understanding of 3D graphs

Felipe Bacim, Eric Ragan, Siroberto Scerbo, Nicholas Polys, Mehdi Setareh, Brett Jones

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2013: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, 29 - 31 May 2013, 25-32

  • BibTex

    author = {Bacim, Felipe and Ragan, Eric and Scerbo, Siroberto and Polys, Nicholas and Setareh, Mehdi and Jones, Brett},
    title = {The effects of display fidelity, visual complexity, and task scope on spatial understanding of 3D graphs},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2013},
    series = {GI 2013},
    year = {2013},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4822-1680-6},
    location = {Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada},
    pages = {25--32},
    numpages = {8},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


Immersive display features can improve performance for tasks involving 3D, but determining which types of spatial analysis tasks are affected by immersive display features for different applications is not simple. This research adds to the knowledge of how the level of display fidelity (i.e., the realism provided by the display output) affects task performance for a variety of 3D spatial understanding tasks. In this study, we control visual display fidelity with the combination of stereoscopy, head-based rendering, and display area and study performance analysis of 3D graphs. Through a controlled study, we evaluated the relationship among display fidelity, visual complexity, task scope, and a user's personal spatial ability. Over a variety of task types, our results show significantly better overall task performance with higher display fidelity. We also found that visual complexity and task scope affect speed, with higher levels of either type of complexity leading to slower performance. These results show the importance of considering multiple factors when calculating the overall difficulty and complexity of a spatial task, and they suggest that visual clutter makes a greater impact on speed than correctness. Further, the study of different task types suggest enhanced virtual reality displays offer more benefits for spatial search and fine-grained component distinction, but may provide little gain than for sense of scale or size comparison.