Scrolling Versus Menus on Small Mobile Device Screens: A Mobile Portal Usability Study

Working Paper Authors Publish Date
24 Bruce Wu
Fang Cao
Norm Archer
Jul. 2008

Developing an application interface for wireless portable devices that is acceptable to end-users is more complex than it is for desktop displays. One way this challenge can be addressed is by providing application access through wireless Web portals.

This paper presents a usability study of a wireless Web application, based on resusable portlets that support different functionalities through wireless PDAs.

Two wireless PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) interfaces were developed for an organizational application. The first used a PDA display of the equivalent desktop verson that made all functionalities available by scrolling, and the second version utilized five portlets in separate displays, each supporting a functionality that linked to the other portlets through menus.

Summative comparisons of the wireless interfaces were used to gather user perceptions of three versions of the interface: a full desktop computer display, the scrollable PDA version and the menu-driven PDA version.

Outcomes indicated that users preferred the desktop interface but their ranking was indifferent between the menu-driven and scrollable PDA interfaces.

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