|M.Sc Student||Gavish Nirit|
|Subject||Designing the user interface for various interactive|
platforms: Examination of web browsing in the
desktop Pc and cellular phone
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisors||Professor Avi Parush|
|Professor Avraham Shtub|
This research deals with the user interface design issue for performing the same task in different platforms. It addresses the question: should designers build, for the different platforms, interfaces that behave in a similar way with respect to the task, or should they build different interfaces which are more suitable to each platform? We used web browsing as an acid test to cross-platform tasks, and the platforms we investigated were the desktop computer and the cellular phone. We specifically explored the navigation structure in those platforms in terms of the breadth vs. depth trade-off. The primary operational research question was: is a broad interface better in a cellular phone for the task of web browsing, as was discovered for the desktop platform, as compared to a deep interface, that is more suitable to the cellular phone characteristics?
The research was done by building a mock web site for finding details about movies that are displayed in Israel and for ordering tickets to them. We used two types of platforms for browsing the site: the desktop computer and the cellular phone. For each platform we built two interfaces that were different only in their hierarchy structure. The participants in the experiment were required to perform two tasks. In the both tasks they had to find a certain movie and order tickets to that movie by filling in some details. Regarding navigation, the results indicate that a broad interface is better for both the desktop platform and the cellular phone platform. This kind of interface loads less on the human short-term memory, causes fewer mistakes in the navigation, and shortens the thinking times for difficult tasks. Regarding filling in forms, there is a trade-off between work without mistakes and thinking times. A deep interface causes more mistakes in the difficult task, but shortens the thinking times for the correct steps.
Taken together, the findings of this research indicate that there are identical user interface design principles that can be applied to the different platforms when performing a similar task. However, there are conditions such as form filling in the cellular phone platform, in which different principles that fit the certain platforms - like using a deeper structure - should be used.