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Multimodal Information Management: Evaluation of Auditory and Haptic Cues for NextGen Communication Displays

Auditory communication displays within the NextGen data link system may use multiple synthetic speech messages replacing traditional air traffic control and company communications. The design of an interface for selecting among multiple incoming messages can impact both performance (time to select, audit, and release a message) and preference. Two design factors were evaluated: physical pressure-sensitive switches versus flat panel “virtual switches,” and the presence or absence of auditory feedback from switch contact. Performance with stimuli using physical switches was 1.2 s faster than virtual switches (2.0 s vs. 3.2 s); auditory feedback provided a 0.54 s performance advantage (2.33 s vs. 2.87 s). There was no interaction between these variables. Preference data were highly correlated with performance.

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