Investigating the Applicability of Information Foraging Theory to Mobile Web Browsing

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Student
Lambros, Stelios
Degree
MS
Defense date
2005-05-27
Department
Computer Science
Commitee
Perez-Quinones, Manuel A., Chair
Dunlap, Daniel R., Member
Tatar, Deborah, Member
Abstract
Major research studies have provided support for information scent based usability evaluation and have increased its parent theory’s (Information Foraging theory) credibility in the HCI community. These studies have, directly and indirectly, found significant correlations between good information scent and good usability. We would like to investigate its application to less-studied platforms, such as web pages on PDAs and cell phones. The theory itself is not device specific and it implicitly assumes that information scent’s importance is universal. However, all studies on the practical application of Information Foraging theory have been conducted with desktop computers. We would like to examine what role information scent plays in interfaces on mobile devices that are limited in usable screen space. For this project, we performed a controlled study with 28 participants on the BBC News web site and its PDA-optimized version. Various usability and information scent related indicators were measured and compared across devices. Contrary to our expectations, we did not find any statistically significant differences between the information scent indicators of the Desktop and PDA sessions and the paths across the devices were highly correlated.
ETD Page
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-05312005-190600/

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