The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Design Implications for Mobile User Interfaces of Internet Services

Elina Vartiainen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium T2 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 20th of November, 2009, at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-248-142-9)   [1154 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-248-141-2)


Internet services are becoming essential in people's daily lives. In addition to accessing them on a PC, Internet services offer functionality and content that are also relevant for mobile use. At the same time, mobile devices of today are technologically sophisticated enabling online access anytime, anywhere. The remaining challenge is to utilize the capabilities of a mobile device in a way that offers people a positive user experience when they are using Internet services on the go.

This Thesis belongs to the area of Human-Computer Interaction focusing on the use of Internet services on a mobile device. It considers the limitations of a mobile device in terms of user interface design and its goal is to define design implications that assist in designing mobile user interfaces for Internet services. The design implications mainly aim to give guidance on how to design a mobile Web browser, but they are completed with research findings on designing a mobile client application for an Internet service.

The research was implemented through user needs studies, user interface design, and user evaluations. The research studies focused on two approaches that support the use of Internet services on mobile devices: the Minimap Web browser and the Image Exchange mobile client application presented these two approaches.

The resulting design implications suggest that the following aspects should be considered when designing mobile user interfaces for Internet services: content optimization, utilization of desktop and mobile usage patterns, full exploitation of device capabilities, compensation for device resources, and content updating. The possible differences in characteristics of a mobile Web browser and a mobile client application are also examined. Finally, this Thesis discusses the latest developments that enable alternative ways to support Internet services on mobile devices in the future.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 6 publications:

  1. Virpi Roto, Andrei Popescu, Antti Koivisto, and Elina Vartiainen. 2006. Minimap: a web page visualization method for mobile phones. In Proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems conference (CHI), pages 35-44, Montreal, Canada.
  2. Elina Vartiainen, Virpi Roto, and Andrei Popescu. 2007. Auto-update: A concept for automatic downloading of Web content to a mobile device. In Proceedings of the 4th international conference on mobile technology, applications, and systems and the 1st international symposium on Computer human interaction in mobile technology, pages 683-689, Singapore.
  3. Elina Vartiainen, Virpi Roto, and Janne Kaasalainen. 2008. Graphical History List with Multi-Window Support on a Mobile Web Browser. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Internet and Web Applications and Services (ICIW'08), pages 121-129, Athens, Greece.
  4. Elina Vartiainen, Janne Kaasalainen, and Toni Strandell. 2008. Designing user experience for a mobile imaging application. In Proceedings of IADIS International Conference Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction, pages 197-204, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  5. Elina Vartiainen, Toni Strandell, and Janne Kaasalainen. 2008. Fully service-integrated mobile application for photo-sharing. In Proceedings of The 12th IASTED International Conference on Internet and Multimedia Systems and Applications (IMSA 2008), pages 38-43, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA.
  6. Elina Vartiainen. 2009. Improving the user experience of a mobile photo gallery via supporting social interaction. International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, 1(4), 38-52, October-December.

Keywords: mobile user interfaces, user experience, Internet services, web browsing

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© 2009 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26