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11-06-2021 | Regular Paper | Issue 6/2021 Open Access

Journal of Visualization 6/2021

Does visual saliency affect decision-making?

Journal of Visualization > Issue 6/2021
Goran Milutinović, Ulla Ahonen-Jonnarth, Stefan Seipel
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In the present study, we explore potential effects of visual saliency on decision quality in context of multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM). We compare two visualization techniques: parallel coordinates (PC) and scatterplot matrices (SPM). We investigate the impact of saliency facilitated by means of either color or size. The saliency and visualization techniques were factors in our analysis, and effects were evaluated in terms of decision quality, attention, time on task, and confidence. Results show that the quality of choice and attention were comparable for all saliency conditions when SPM was used. For PC, we found a positive effect of color saliency both on the quality of choice and on attention. Different forms of saliency led to varying times on task in both PC and SPM; however, those variations were not significant. A comparison of PC and SPM shows, users spent less time on the task, obtained better decision quality, and were more confident with their decision when using PC. To summarize, our findings suggest that saliency can increase attention and decision quality in MCDM for certain visualization techniques and forms of saliency. Another contribution of this work is the novel suggestion of the method to elicit of users’ preferences; its potential benefits are discussed in the end of the paper.

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