Gaming the Android OS for Improving the Design of Smartphone Launchers


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With a growing number of mobile applications available on application stores and the improved capabilities of smartphones, people download more applications to their devices. With people having more applications installed, finding applications quickly when they need them can become a time consuming issue that impacts user experience. In this paper, we present our approach to improve future design of smartphone launcher menus by following a large-scale research method. We designed a game that takes advantage of the user’s smartphone itself as a game court. By measuring the time of a simple visual search task for an icon, we aim to deduce how well a user knows where he can find his applications, thus how well he can build a mental model of his smartphone launcher menu. We present work in progress, preliminary results and discuss our approach and future work.

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Gaming the Android OS for Improving the Design of Smartphone Launchers

  1. 1. Gaming the Android OS for Improving the Design of Smartphone Launchers Matthias Böhmer and Antonio Krüger Ubiquitous Media Technologies Lab DFKI GmbH // Saarland University Workshop on Informing Future Designs via Large-scale Research Methods and Big Data MobileHCI 2013, Munich, Germany
  2. 2. Böhmer and Krüger, CHI 2013
  3. 3. How fast can people launch their apps?
  4. 4. Study by implementing tasks within application Study by collecting data through system APIs Study by observing usage of system UI App runs in foreground. Study tasks contained in app. App may run in background. Collecting data through APIs. Observing transitions between app and system UI. Related work: e.g. in-game feedback (McMillan et al. 2010); off-screen visualization (Henze et al. 2010), touch precision (Henze et al. 2011); adoption of NFC (Kranz et al. 2013) Related work: e.g. work on app usage (Böhmer et al. 2011), work on battery charging behavior (Ferreira et al. 2011), AppAware (Girardello & Michahelles 2010) New approach: chosen for this work
  5. 5. Wanna play? Go
  6. 6. Preliminary Findings - Available on Google Play since June 2012 - More than 590 installations, 41 users shared data - 304 rounds played with 164 different apps - On average user has played 7.41 rounds (SD 19.90, min 1, max 128) - On average 5.66 seconds to find apps (SD 4.46) - On the lower end: note taking apps (1.20 to 2 seconds) - Maximum search time: Facebook (40.65 sec).
  7. 7. Discussion and Future Work - Make game more engaging to grow larger? - What makes a difference in app search time? - App usage behavior, e.g. most used apps faster? - Icon arrangement, e.g. the more folders the slower? - Launcher design, e.g. the more icons the slower? - Icon design, e.g. red icons can be found faster? - Device models, e.g. tablets slower than phones? - Screen sizes, e.g. the bigger the slower? - Extendable to other research questions?
  8. 8. Matthias Böhmer Wanna play? Go Gaming the Android OS for Improving the Design of Smartphone Launchers Study by observing usage of system UI