Two studies are described that compare a “compatibility of proximity” approach to display design with an emergent features approach. Results suggest that tasks requiring integration are not necessarily better supported by an integral or object display than a separated display. A bar graph with a strong emergent feature mapped onto a goal-relevant task invariant supported better integrated task performance than a triangle display that in previous research had shown superiority when compared with weaker bar graph displays. Further research in progress is outlined. Our findings suggest that an emergent features approach to display design might be a more encompassing approach than one based solely on compatibility of proximity.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_flach/133/