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Presentation of Complex Information    

                              image of dashboard

There are many situations in which presentation of complex information is required: the dashboard of a car, the presentation of data, the presentation of a webpage...  The principles of good design tell us that in all things we should seek an elegant simplicity. In real life, that is not always possible.

How can Psychology help?

The way humans process information depends on the content of the information. Think about it: you naturally point to an object in the world, rather than trying to describe its location; equally, if someone speaks to you, you usually talk back rather than writing them a letter, or trying to mime your answer!

There are basic principles which identify the processing mechanisms humans use to process complex and multi-source information (a visual display and some auditory information, for example), and these can be used to provide information in a way which humans find easy to process. This knowledge extends to placement and type of switches on the dashboard, but is mainly concerned with the way humans process the information.

The research in this area is tried and tested, and used in everyday, real world problems, from NASA scientists to car dashboard layout to presentation of data using PowerPoint. It has been proven to improve user performance, from preventing errors and accidents, to speeding up response times, to just plain getting the message across.

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If you would like to contact Jane about anything on these pages, please email: jane.pollock@psy.ox.ac.uk