Social Networking Services on Mobile Devices: User Interface Designs and User Experience Studies

Yanqing Cui

    Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles

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    People commonly use social networking services (SNSs) on their mobile devices. Web sites, mobile applications and mobile widgets are the typical user interfaces (UIs) used to access SNSs. These UIs are restricted to content from single services, which constrain people’s simultaneous browsing of multiple SNSs. Previous studies propose workarounds – such as displaying SNS content in augmented phonebooks – to combine multiple SNSs. These studies, however, do not provide a genuine solution to the user’s problem. The objective of this dissertation is to explore novel UI designs for in-depth integration of multiple SNSs on a mobile device and to evaluate the user experience (UX) that these designs support. Here UX covers a person's perceptions and responses in using an interactive product. This dissertation explores mobile use of SNSs from a human–computer interaction (HCI) perspective. Following the design research approach, the study investigated novel means of using multiple SNSs on mobile devices in a concept called ‘LinkedUI’. The work focused on SNSs, although the results could also be relevant to mobile use of other Web services. Three main results emerged from this research. Firstly, in their use of mobile devices, people prefer to be aware of relevant SNS content when taking micro breaks. They often do not aim for concrete goals other than keeping informed and updated. Current UIs limit these browsing activities, as people need to interact with UI elements intensively before accessing the content in which they are interested. Secondly, LinkedUI introduces a holistic device UI – regulating all functions of a mobile device – based on hypertext navigation. This supports aggregation of content from multiple services and automatic filtering to highlight relevant content. User evaluations showed that these designs contributed to positive user experiences of SNS use on mobile devices. The third main result addresses usage patterns and user experiences of LinkedUI like mobile UIs. People frequently check SNSs in brief sessions. They attend to content selectively, mainly content directed to them, recently shared, or shared by relevant contacts. These factors aid in prediction of the relevance of the SNS content. In terms of UX, LinkedUI rewards users with enhanced awareness experience. It is easy to use and grants users a sufficient sense of control in the face of constant information flow. The main contribution of this dissertation is to characterise user activities on the mobile Web, while the associated research created and evaluated novel means for accessing SNSs on mobile devices. Research discussed in this dissertation resulted in UI designs that explored one potential direction for the future mobile UI development and influenced the Notifications home view of some Nokia Symbian and MeeGo smartphones. This dissertation reveals usage patterns and UX associated with mobile use of SNSs, and it proposes implications for future research and development in this domain.
    Translated title of the contributionSocial Networking Services on Mobile Devices: User Interface Designs and User Experience Studies
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    Number of pages82
    ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3087-6
    ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3048-7
    Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2013
    Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

    Publication series

    NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    ISSN (Print)1459-2045


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