New Publication in DSS: The effect of interactive analytical dashboard features on situation awareness and task performance

  • Date: 19.05.2020
  • The Decision Support Systems (DSS) journal published a research paper by Mario Nadj, Alexander Maedche, and Christian  Schieder.
    Abstract: In recent years, new types of interactive analytical dashboard features have emerged for operational decision support systems (DSS). Analytical components of such features solve optimization problems hidden from the human eye, whereas interactive components involve the individual in the optimization process via graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Despite their expected value for organizations, little is known about the effectiveness of interactive analytical dashboards in operational DSS or their influences on human cognitive abilities. This paper contributes to the closing of this gap by exploring and empirically testing the effects of interactive analytical dashboard features on situation awareness (SA) and task performance in operational DSS. Using the theoretical lens of SA, we develop hypotheses about the effects of a what-if analysis as an interactive analytical dashboard feature on operational decision-makers' SA and task performance. The resulting research model is studied with a laboratory experiment, including eye-tracking data of 83 participants. Our findings show that although a what-if analysis leads to higher task performance, it may also reduce SA, nourishing a potential out-of-the-loop problem. Thus, designers and users of interactive analytical dashboards have to carefully mitigate these effects in the implementation and application of operational DSS. In this article, we translate our findings into implications for designing dashboards within operational DSS to help practitioners in their efforts to address the danger of the out-of-the-loop syndrome.