Evaluation of Visual Alerts in the Maritime Domain – Behavioural research study

Évaluation des alertes visuelles dans le domaine maritime


  1. Roberts, S.
  2. Foster-Hunt, T.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);CAE Professional Services, Ottawa (ON)
The current study was designed to explore alternative methods of enhancing the manner in which operators are alerted in the Halifax Class Frigate operations room. As the auditory modality is overloaded in the current alerting system, one method of potentially reducing perceptual overload is to replace auditory alerts with alerts presented in the visual domain. The purpose of the current study was to investigate how a high intensity task spread across multiple displays impacts the detection of visual alerts. The experimental design included two types of alerts (flashing border/status bar) presented independently on the left, right, or centre display or on all three displays. Participants were required to complete two tasks: 1. Classify and report contacts appearing on the centre display as hostile or neutral, and 2. Detect and respond to visual alerts. Reaction time to alerts and accuracy of the identification of alerts and contacts were examined. In general, reaction time to status bar alerts was faster than to border alerts, although no significant difference was observed when the alerts appeared on the left display. Responding to the status bar alert when it was presented on all three displays at once compared to all other alert configurations was found to be fastest. No significant difference in accuracy was found. Results in this study suggest that the type and location of visual alerts has a significant impact on reaction time but no impact on accuracy. Further investiga

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Report Number
DRDC-ATLANTIC-CR-2008-057 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Sep 2008
Number of Pages
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