Document details

The influence of off-screen landmarks on user orientation

Author(s): Korda, Amichai

Date: 2014

Persistent ID:

Origin: Repositório Institucional da UNL

Subject(s): Small screen display; Located off-screen; Map interface; Map display; Smartphone; User-map interaction


Maps displayed on hand held devices, such as smartphones; provide limited visibility due to their small screen display. In order to overcome display limitations, researchers have developed new techniques that point users to objects and landmarks located off-screen, which is known as an “off-screen interface”. Since this is a new type of map interface, there is little information regarding the effect it has on the user’s perception of the environment and spatial orientation abilities. This thesis investigates the relationship of a map display to the user’s orientation in the environment. A field experiment was conducted in an urban environment, where twenty-four participants were individually guided along an unfamiliar route. All participants were provided with a map displayed on a smartphone, whereas only half were additionally equipped with the off-screen interface. Tasks involving user’s orientation knowledge were preformed along the route and at the end point. In addition, user’s interaction with the map was monitored. Results were compared between the two interface groups and individual difference, such as gender and sense of direction abilities, were taken into account. The results do not indicate a significant difference between the two interfaces in relocation to orientation abilities. However, considerable differences among the interface groups were found with relation to gender and senses of direction. Moreover, a significant difference was found between groups in relation to user-map interaction. Based on the results of this study, a relation between the off-screen map interface and its user’s orientation abilities can be observed.

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Geospatial Technologies.

Document Type Master thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Li, Rui; Painho, Marco Octávio Trindade; Ramos, Francisco
Contributor(s) Korda, Amichai
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