CS 767/867 Assignment 2: An easily searchable set of symbols

Due 3 October

The goal of this assignment is to design and evaluate a set of 10 symbols with maximum findability in mind. Each symbol should be easily discoverable by means of visual search in the context of the other symbols.

You will design 10 symbols and conduct a visual search study to determine how quickly each symbol can be found in a random field of 99 of the others. You will design and implement an experiment to test the findability of the symbol set.

Design constraints

Each symbol should fit into a 5 mm square. You can use color, shape, blur or any visual method to achieve the design goal. Symbols will be displayed in a white background.


In the experiment the participant's task will be to say whether or not a particular symbol is present.

The display area containing the symbols should be 10 cm square and it should have at least a 4 cm border around the display area.

A trial is structured as follows. A display of 100 symbols is shown in a jittered grid consisting of either,

The study participant responds by pressing one of two designated keys indicating yes or no. The right forefinger should be used for a yes response and the left forefinger should be used for a no response.

Trials should be given in blocks of 30, with the same target symbol for all trials but in a different location and with different randomly chosen distractors. The target symbol should be shown to the left side. Experiment software should record the condition (type of target, present or absent), the response time and whether or not an error was made for each trial.


Your report will have the form of a standard scientific report of an experiment. It will have the following sections and amount to < 1200 wds.
Introduction: The introduction should give a brief intro to the problem citing at least one relevant research paper. You should introduce your design principles here and illustrate the symbol set.
Method: This should describe the experiment protocol.
Results: Give at a minimum mean response times with target present and absent for each target. and the errors for each target- an Excel spread sheet is a good way to do the analysis.
Discussion: You should comment on the most and least findable targets and perhaps comment on the practical value of the symbol set.
Something by Triesman at least.