Comparing two types of engineering visualizations: Task-related manipulations matter

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



This study focuses on the comparison of traditional engineering drawings with a CAD (computer aided design) visualization in terms of user performance and eye movements in an applied context. Twenty-five students of mechanical engineering completed search tasks for measures in two distinct depictions of a car engine component (engineering drawing vs. CAD model). Besides spatial dimensionality, the display types most notably differed in terms of information layout, access and interaction options. The CAD visualization yielded better performance, if users directly manipulated the object, but was inferior, if employed in a conventional static manner, i.e. inspecting only predefined views. An additional eye movement analysis revealed longer fixation durations and a stronger increase of task-relevant fixations over time when interacting with the CAD visualization. This suggests a more focused extraction and filtering of information. We conclude that the three-dimensional CAD visualization can be advantageous if its ability to manipulate is used. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-1000-1915/work/92718237
Scopus 80052397495
ORCID /0000-0002-6673-9591/work/142242356
WOS 000295445700004
PubMed 21497791



  • CAD viewer, Engineering drawing, Eye movements