Comparing speech versus text displays for alarm handling

N. A. Stanton*, C. Baber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The rise of computers in command and control domains has meant that control operations can be performed via desk-based visual display terminals. This trend has also produced the potential to display information to operators in a variety of formats. Of particular interest has been the use of text-based displays for alarm presentation. There are possible limitations to the use of text for alarm presentation, not least of which is the need for a dedicated alarms display screen (or, at least, a display page). Given the capability of computers to synthesize speech, it is possible that speech-based alarms could generate the same information as text-based displays without the need for dedicated screen space. In this paper an experimental comparison of speech-based and text-based displays for presentation of alarms is reported. The findings show that speech leads to longer response times than text displays, but that it has minimal effect on the efficacy of fault handling. The results are discussed within the alarm initiated activities framework and implications for alarm system design are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1240-1254
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997


  • Alarm handling
  • Alarms
  • Speech displays
  • Text displays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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