Does a Split-View Aid Navigation Within Academic Documents?

Motivation

Reading Habits

Paper is still the dominant medium for reading academic documents [2].

Reasons are:

  • Ease of Annotation
  • Physical Comfort
  • Tangibility
  • Portability
  • Ease of Navigation
  • Better Comprehension

Prior Research Findings

Paper-like navigation provides more flexibility and better support for reading and working with academic documents [1, 6, 7,9].

Pearson et al. [6]:

  • Digital version of reading desk
  • Mimicked key properties of physical book on a desk

Chen et al. [1]:

  • Multiple interconnected devices
  • Spread out papers to remove space limitations

Our Investigation

We designed two distinct navigation options on an electronic device.

Provide:

  • More paper-like handling
  • Better intra-document navigation
  • Support hyperlinked navigation without scrolling through the text
  • More freedom to layout the text according to the readers needs
  • Least possible distraction of reading flow

Prototype

1-column layout /
single reading view

WebView

2-column layout /
reading view + contextual view

SplitView

Findings

User Study

Qualitative user study / 8 participants (23 - 36ys) Comparison of WebView and SplitView 2 texts / 8 errors
Test

1. Task: Performance

  • Read text
  • Find errors

2. Task: Preference

  • Provide feedback on preferred views
  • Suggest improvements

Results

1. Task: Performance

  • Participants did not identify many errors
  • The faster they read the less errors were found
  • The type of view used did not affect performance

Preference:

  • SplitView navigation was preferred (7 of 8)
  • Only one person (a frequent digital reader) preferred the WebView

Future Work

We designed two distinct navigation options on an electronic device.

Provide:

  1. More paper-like handling
  2. Better intra-document navigation
  3. Support hyperlinked navigation without scrolling through the text
  4. More freedom to layout the text according to the readers needs
  5. Least possible distraction of reading flow