Evaluating online and tangible interfaces for engaging stakeholders in forecasting and control of biological invasions
Gaydos, D. A., Jones, C. M., Jones, S. K., Millar, G. C., Petras, V., Petrasova, A., … Meentemeyer, R. K. (2021, September 21). ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS.
Ecological forecasts will be best suited to inform intervention strategies if they are accessible to a diversity of decision-makers. Researchers are developing intuitive forecasting interfaces to guide stakeholders through the development of intervention strategies and visualization of results. Yet, few studies to date have evaluated how user interface design facilitates the coordinated, cross-boundary management required for controlling biological invasions. We used a participatory approach to develop complementary tangible and online interfaces for collaboratively forecasting biological invasions and devising control strategies. A diverse group of stakeholders evaluated both systems in the real-world context of controlling sudden oak death, an emerging forest disease killing millions of trees in California and Oregon. Our findings suggest that while both interfaces encouraged adaptive experimentation, tangible interfaces are particularly well suited to support collaborative decision-making. Reflecting on the strengths of both systems, we suggest workbench-style interfaces that support simultaneous interactions and dynamic geospatial visualizations.