Navigation Techniques for Small-screen Devices: an Evaluation on Maps and Web pages
Authors:Burigat S., Chittaro L., Gabrielli S.
Published in:International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, February 2008, Vol. 66, No. 2, pp. 78-97.
Abstract:Several techniques have been proposed to support user navigation of large information spaces (e.g., maps or web pages) on smallscreen devices such as PDAs and Smartphones. In this paper, we present the results of an evaluation that compared three of these techniques to determine how they might affect performance and satisfaction of users. Two of the techniques are quite common on mobile devices: the first one (DoubleScrollbar) is the standard combination of two scrollbars for separate horizontal and vertical scrolling with zoom buttons to change the scale of the information space, the second one (Grab&Drag) enables users to navigate the information space by directly dragging its currently displayed portion, while zooming is handled through a slider control. The last technique (Zoom-Enhanced Navigator or ZEN) is an extension and adaptation to mobile screens of Overview&Detail approaches, which are based on displaying an overview of the information space together with a detail view of a portion of that space. In these approaches, navigation is usually supported by (i) highlighting in the overview which portion of space is displayed in the detail view, and (ii) allowing users to move the highlight within the overview area to change the corresponding portion of space in the detail area. Our experimental evaluation concerned tasks involving maps as well as web page navigation. The paper analyzes in detail the obtained results in terms of task completion times, number and duration of user interface actions, accuracy of the gained spatial knowledge, and subjective preferences.