User Web browsing characteristics using palm handhelds for information retrieval


An increasing amount of information is being disseminated to decision-makers via Web interfaces. Because there is also an increase in the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs), future Web sites must accommodate handheld access. With easy ability to synchronize content from the Web with handheld systems, basic Web design assumptions should be reexamined to determine how handhelds affect search and retrieval. The small screen size, text-based design, and cumbersome interface manipulation requires verification of the current design guidelines to ensure they support efficient information retrieval. In addition, PDA users' browsing behavior also differs from typical Web use. Whereas people using the Web tend to engage in open-ended exploratory behaviors, PDAs are intended to support task-specific use. Thus user ability to retrieve information-including locating and relocating information, building mental models of the Web site, and remembering the information once the user has found it-may differ in substantive ways. The paper lays out a theoretical framework for understanding differences between handheld and full-sized Web environments, as well as their intended uses. Design issues are identified for further research.

Publication Title

IPCC/SIGDOC 2000: Technology and Teamwork - Proceedings, IEEE Professional Communication Society International Professional Communication Conference and ACM Special Interest Group on Documentation Conference