The Display of Visual Information in Mission Command Systems: Implications for Cognitive Performance in the Command Post of the Future

Report No. ARL-TR-6544
Authors: Jonathan Z. Bakdash; Norbou Buchler
Date/Pages: August 2013; 40 pages
Abstract: In a Mission Command System (MCS), the saliency of displayed information is vital for the speed and accuracy of human information processing, underlying fast cognitive task performance with minimal error rates. The visual display of information in a MCS, the Armys Command Post of the Future (CPOF), was evaluated using the Department of Defense Military Standard MIL-STD-1472G (MIL-STD-1472G, 2012). Compared to the military standard, which defines criteria for adequate human performance, the majority of characters and symbols in CPOF are too small, given the visual angle subtended by sizes of characters and symbols based on viewing distance. Also, based on the military standard, nearly half of the elements in CPOF lacked sufficient visual salience (i.e., contrast). To improve reading performance with the visual display in CPOF, the following changes are recommended: (1) Increase the Visual AngleImplement support in CPOF to change the size of all visual elements, including the font size, to at least 0.25°, and (2) Increase ContrastChanges to characters and backgrounds are necessary so that all reach a minimum contrast level of 6:1. High contrast can be created with dark characters on a light background or light characters on a dark background.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: August 1, 2013