Workload measurement in a communication application operated through a P300-based brain-computer interface

J Neural Eng. 2011 Apr;8(2):025028. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/8/2/025028. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


Advancing the brain-computer interface (BCI) towards practical applications in technology-based assistive solutions for people with disabilities requires coping with problems of accessibility and usability to increase user acceptance and satisfaction. The main objective of this study was to introduce a usability-oriented approach in the assessment of BCI technology development by focusing on evaluation of the user's subjective workload and satisfaction. The secondary aim was to compare two applications for a P300-based BCI. Eight healthy subjects were asked to use an assistive technology solution which integrates the P300-based BCI with commercially available software under two conditions--visual stimuli needed to evoke the P300 response were either overlaid onto the application's graphical user interface or presented on a separate screen. The two conditions were compared for effectiveness (level of performance), efficiency (subjective workload measured by means of NASA-TXL) and satisfaction of the user. Although no significant difference in usability could be detected between the two conditions, the methodology proved to be an effective tool to highlight weaknesses in the technical solution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Communication Aids for Disabled*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Workload*