Title page for ETD etd-05312005-190600

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lambros, Stelios
Author's Email Address lambros@vt.edu
URN etd-05312005-190600
Title Investigating the Applicability of Information Foraging Theory to Mobile Web Browsing
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Prez-Quiones, Manuel A. Committee Chair
Dunlap, Daniel R. Committee Member
Tatar, Deborah Gail Committee Member
  • PDA Usability
  • PDA Browsing
  • Information Foraging Theory
  • Information Scent
Date of Defense 2005-05-27
Availability unrestricted
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.
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