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User engagement testing with a pilot decision support tool aimed to support species managers

May 22, 2023

Species status assessments (SSAs) are required for endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and focus on the resiliency, redundancy, and representation of endangered species. SSAs must include climate information, because climate is a factor that will impact species in the future. To aid in the inclusion of climate information, a decision support system (DSS) entitled Climate Analysis and Visualization for the Assessment of Species Status (CAnVAS) was developed by the State Climate Office of North Carolina using a coproduction approach. In this study, users viewed a mock-up version of the CAnVAS interface displaying a sample layout of future projections for three key climate variables (average precipitation, average maximum temperature, and occurrence of maximum temperature) at a location of interest. This assessment of the pilot version of the CAnVAS DSS was the first step in refining CAnVAS for species-manager use. This research analyzed the differences in usability between two pilot versions of the CAnVAS DSS through eye tracking and subsequent interviews with novice users. The two pilot versions of CAnVAS differed in the way data were displayed on graphs and the color ramps used on regional maps. We found that graphically displaying temporal climate information through box-and-whisker plots and spatially through a sequential color ramp from white to purple were more effective than alternative displays at communicating climate information on endangered species. The results of this research will be used to further develop the CAnVAS DSS tool for future implementation.

Publication Year 2023
Title User engagement testing with a pilot decision support tool aimed to support species managers
DOI 10.1175/WCAS-D-22-0010.1
Authors Haven J. Cashwell, Karen S. McNeal, Kathie Dello, Ryan Boyles, Corey Davis
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Weather, Climate, and Society
Index ID 70243804
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center