Around-device interaction for exploring large information spaces on mobile devices
Hasan, Mohammad Khalad
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The standard approach for browsing information on mobile devices includes touchscreen gestures such as pinch and flick. These gestures often require minute operations such as repetitive panning to browse contact lists on a mobile device. Using these gestures to explore large information spaces to facilitate decision-making tasks often involves considerable effort and the user has to deal with screen occlusion and fat-finger situations. However, the void space around mobile devices is much larger than the small touch screen. Researchers have demonstrated that such in-air space can be used as an alternative to touch input for fundamental operations, such as answering and rejecting phone calls. While such prior work has laid the foundation for around-device input, a complete mobile application that deploys and benefits from such an input modality had not been investigated prior to this thesis. In this thesis, we explored how in-air space around a mobile device can be used to structure mobile interfaces to facilitate complex goals such as making a purchase decision with a smartphone. To achieve this goal, we began with investigating various design factors that influence the performance of accessing content that can virtually exist around the device. We then explored users’ and spectators’ perceptions of using around-device gestures to access on-device information as their readiness of performing such gestures could lead to rapid adoption of this interaction style. Finally, we used these prior findings to design and structure a complete mobile commerce application with around-device space and compared it to traditional touch interfaces. Study results revealed that using an in-air mobile interface can be more efficient than standard touchscreen interactions. Overall, this research took the first successful step in empirically showing the practical value for using the around-device space for exploring large information spaces on mobile devices.