This paper reports on an empirical investigation of two "maximally different" database query interfaces. The first interface utilized a traditional textual interface similar to those found within common database management systems. The second interface employed a "perceptual" interface that was highly visual in nature and allowed users to directly manipulate query attributes in order to understand how changing those attributes changed the solution set for an individual query. Results indicated that for some tasks--particularly those where a precise answer was required--the textual interface performed better. However, for tasks where an approximate answer was all that was required, the perceptual interface was a better fit. These results have important implications for the design of managerial decision making systems, particularly in an environment where the potential of information overload is significant.
Speier, Cheri and Morris, Michael, "Mitigating Information Overload: A Comparison of Perceptual and Textual Query Interfaces in a Decision Support Environment" (2000). AMCIS 2000 Proceedings. 305.