Layout attributes and recall

Marketta Niemelä, Pertti Saariluoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The spatial arrangement of elements such as icons in a computer interface may influence learning the interface. However, the effects of layout organization on users' information processing is relatively little studied so far. The three experiments of this paper examined two attributes of layouts: spatial grouping by proximity and semantic coherence. Learning was assessed by tasks in which 30 participants recalled icon-like items' labels, locations, or both as a series of study-recall trials. The results show that layout organization interacts with task demands. Semantic organization improves recall of labels, and spatial grouping supports recall of locations. When both labels and locations are learned concurrently, the best recall performance is associated with a simultaneously grouped and semantically coherent layout. However, semantic and spatial organization may interact unexpectedly on learning. The findings are discussed from the viewpoint of information chunking in memory processes and interface design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-363
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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