THE CLIENT: Northrop Grumman, a leading global security company

The Objective

EyeTracking, Inc. utilized the Index of Cognitive Activity (ICA) to evaluate two versions (current and redesigned) of a mission critical system designed to monitor air, surface and subsurface traffic for the Space and Naval Warfare Command. The goal of this research was assess the cognitive workload of operators of each system as they completed their duties.

The Sample

EyeTracking, Inc. recruited and tested a sample of participants with appropriate military background and field experience.

The Methods

Each operator completed realistic scenarios using the current and redesigned mission critical systems. Eye tracking and behavioral data was collected, as well as self-reported feedback on mental effort. Comparisons were made between the two systems and also between novices and experts.

The Results

The ICA successfully identified points of difficulty and increased mental effort throughout the scenarios. Physiological data was supported by self-reported operator feedback regarding mental effort. Statistical comparisons of cognitive workload suggested that learning the redesigned system did not result in increased mental effort for experts or novices. These findings provided the client with objective, statistically-valid evidence that changing from the current system to the redesigned system will not negatively influence the workload of operators.

“The metrics provided in the final report allowed us to demonstrate the effectiveness of the product to our client. The scientific test results confirmed our heuristic field experience and will ensure widespread product acceptance across our customer base."

Corey Bickmore, Department Manager, Defense Mission Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation