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

Working PaperAuthorsPublish 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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