(left) Traditional thumbnail views render text in this news page
(right) The same page as a summary thumbnail contains enough
readable text to allow users to identify the area containing the
sought content. The user may then zoom
in on the abstract or click the link for the complete story.
In order to display web pages originally designed
for desktop-sized monitors, some small-screen web browsers provide
single-column or thumbnail views. Both have limitations. Single-column
views affect page layouts and require users to scroll significantly
more. Thumbnail views tend to reduce contained text beyond readability,
so differentiating similar looking areas requires users to zoom.
views enhanced with readable text fragments. Summary Thumbnails
help users identify viewed material and distinguish between similar
looking areas. In our user study, participants located content in web
pages 41% faster and at a 71% lower error rate when using the Summary
Thumbnail interface than when using the Single-Column interface, and
zoomed 59% less than when using the Thumbnail interface. Nine of the
eleven participants preferred Summary Thumbnails over both the
Thumbnail and Single-Column interfaces.
In collaboration with summer 2004 intern Heidi Lam.