Reduction of map information regulates visual attention without affecting route recognition performance
Map-based navigation is a diverse task that stands in contradiction to the goal of completeness of web mapping services. As each navigation task is different, it also requires and can dispense with different map information to support effective and efficient wayfinding. Task-oriented reduction of the elements displayed in a map may therefore support navigation. In order to investigate effects of map reduction on route recognition and visual attention towards specific map elements, we created maps in which areas offside an inserted route were displayed as transparent. In a route memory experiment, where participants had to memorize routes and match them to routes displayed in following stimuli, these maps were compared to unmodified maps. Eye movement analyses revealed that in the reduced maps, areas offside the route were fixated less often. Route recognition performance was not affected by the map reduction. Our results indicate that task-oriented map reduction may direct visual attention towards relevant map elements at no cost for route recognition.