Visual Behaviors and Mobile Information Acquisition

by   Nuwan Janaka, et al.

It is common for people to engage in information acquisition tasks while on the move. To understand how users' visual behaviors influence microlearning, a form of mobile information acquisition, we conducted a shadowing study with 8 participants and identified three common visual behaviors: 'glance', 'inspect', and 'drift'. We found that 'drift' best supports mobile information acquisition. We also identified four user-related factors that can influence the utilization of mobile information acquisition opportunities: situational awareness, switching costs, ongoing cognitive processes, and awareness of opportunities. We further examined how these user-related factors interplay with device-related factors through a technology probe with 20 participants using mobile phones and optical head-mounted displays (OHMDs). Results indicate that different device platforms significantly influence how mobile information acquisition opportunities are used: OHMDs can better support mobile information acquisition when visual attention is fragmented. OHMDs facilitate shorter visual switch-times between the task and surroundings, which reduces the mental barrier of task transition. Mobile phones, on the other hand, provide a more focused experience in more stable surroundings. Based on these findings, we discuss trade-offs and design implications for supporting information acquisition tasks on the move.


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