An Experimental Program Investigating Color-Enhanced and Graphical Information Presentation: An Integration of the Findings


Communications of the ACM

November 1986, vol. 29, n°11, pp.1094-1105

Departments: Information Systems and Operations Management

A series of three laboratory experiments were conducted to assess the influence of graphical and color-enhanced information presentation modes on decision quality, decision making time, use of information, and user perceptions. The experimental design allowed for the unconfounded study of line graphs and color using a variety of information presentation designs for the same decision making task. Based on the findings of these studies, propositions about the impact of graphics and color on individual decision makers are presented. The influence of presentation mode on human performance and the perceived value of information is related to how well it supports the solution approach to a particular task. The benefits of graphics are limited to reducing decision making time but only when the graphical report has been designed to directly assist in solving the task. Multicolor reports aid in decision making, but only in specific circumstances, that is, their benefits are not pervasive. It appears that color is more advantageous when associated with graphical reports, for certain decision maker types, during learning periods, and in time constrained environments