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Expert participants may not always be available for evaluation of new displays or support systems, and in some cases, it might be better to use novice participants, particularly when the display or support significantly changes existing work practices. To provide tools and arguments for selecting the expertise level of participants, we propose the use of Rasmussen’s decision ladder to analyze where and how a new visualization or a support tool changes the task, and identify steps where a novice participant may learn to perform the task to an acceptable level. A comparison to the support with the current operational interfaces then shows where an expert might have difficulty in stepping away from learned practice. This analysis is applied to the domain of air traffic control, and a selected set of relevant past research with both expert and novice participants is reviewed, revisiting the decision for a participant level in the study.