An Investigation of the Roles of Individual Differences and User Interface on Database Usability


This research seeks to understand to what extent leveraging the graphical user interface's ability to convey spatial information can improve a user's ability to write effective database queries. This capability is believed to be especially important when nontechnical individuals, with diverse backgrounds and cognitive abilities, are expected to interact directly with these systems in the query formulation process. This study makes use of recent developments in graphical user interface technology to manipulate the level of spatial visualization support provided by the interface. A laboratory experiment was conducted to explore the influence of interface style and the spatial visualization ability of the user on the performance of the query development process. The application used in the experiment was a visual database query system developed for this study. One hundred sixty-two volunteers participated in the experiment. Spatial visualization ability was assessed using a paper-folding test. The results indicate that both spatial visualization support of the system and spatial visualization ability of the user are important components of database usability. © 1997, Authors. All rights reserved.


Information Technology and Cybersecurity

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computer-human interaction, database queries, end-user computing, spatial representation, visualization ability

Publication Date


Journal Title

Data Base for Advances in Information Systems