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.

Internet on Mobiles: Evolution of Usability and User Experience

Anne Kaikkonen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy 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 11th of December, 2009, at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-248-190-0)   [1936 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-248-189-4)


The mobile Internet is no longer a new phenomenon; the first mobile devices supporting web access were introduced over 10 years ago. During the past ten years technology and business infrastructure have evolved and the number of mobile Internet users has increased all over the world. Service user interface, technology and business infrastructure have built a framework for service adaptation: they can act as enablers or as barriers. Users evaluate how the new technology adds value to their life based on multiple factors.

This dissertation has its focus in the area of human-computer interaction research and practices. The overall goal of my research has been to improve the usability and the user experience of mobile Internet services. My research has sought answers to questions relevant in service development process. Questions have varied during the years, the main question being: How to design and create mobile Internet services that people can use and want to use? I have sought answers mostly from a human factors perspective, but have also taken the elements form technology and business infrastructure into consideration. In order to answer the questions raised in service development projects, we have investigated the mobile Internet services in the laboratory and in the field. My research has been conducted in various countries in 3 continents: Asia, Europe and North America. These studies revealed differences in mobile Internet use in different countries and between user groups. Studies in this dissertation were conducted between years 1998 and 2007 and show how questions and research methods have evolved during the time.

Good service creation requires that all three factors: technology, business infrastructure and users are taken in consideration. When using knowledge on users in decision making, it is important to understand that the different phases of the service development cycle require the different kind of information on users. It is not enough to know about the users, the knowledge about users has to be transferred into decisions.

The service has to be easy to use so that people can use it. This is related to usability. Usability is a very important factor in service adoption, but it is not enough. The service has to have relevant content from user perspective. The content is the reason why people want to use the service. In addition to the content and the ease of use, people evaluate the goodness of the service based on many other aspects: the cost, the availability and the reliability of the system for example. A good service is worth trying and after the first experience, is it worth using. These aspects are considered to influence the 'user experience' of the system. In this work I use lexical analysis to evaluate how the words "usability" and "user experience" are used in mobile HCI conference papers during the past 10 years. The use of both words has increased during the period and reflects the evolution of research questions and methodology over time.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 11 publications:

  1. Anne Kaikkonen and Pirjo Törmänen. 2000. User experience in mobile banking. Industrial case study in the 14th Annual Conference of the British HCI Group (HCI 2000). Sunderland, United Kingdom. 5-8 September 2000.
  2. Anne Kaikkonen and Virpi Roto. 2003. Navigating in a mobile XHTML application. In: Gilbert Cockton and Panu Korhonen (editors). Proceedings of the 2003 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2003). Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. 5-10 April 2003, pages 329-336.
  3. Virpi Roto and Anne Kaikkonen. 2003. Acceptable download times in the mobile Internet. In: Constantine Stephanidis (editor). Universal Access in HCI: Inclusive Design in the Information Society. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI International 2003). Heraklion, Crete, Greece. 22-27 June 2003, volume 4, pages 1467-1471.
  4. Virpi Roto and Anne Kaikkonen. 2003. Perception of narrow web pages on a mobile phone. In: Proceedings of the 19th International Symposium on Human Factors in Telecommunication (HFT 2003). Berlin, Germany. 1-4 December 2003, pages 205-212. © 2003 by authors.
  5. Tuuli Hyvärinen, Anne Kaikkonen, and Mika Hiltunen. 2005. Placing links in mobile banking application. In: Manfred Tscheligi, Regina Bernhaupt, and Kristijan Mihalic (editors). Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI 2005). Salzburg, Austria. 19-22 September 2005, pages 63-68.
  6. Anne Kaikkonen, Aki Kekäläinen, Mihael Cankar, Titti Kallio, and Anu Kankainen. 2005. Usability testing of mobile applications: a comparison between laboratory and field testing. Journal of Usability Studies, volume 1, number 1, pages 4-16. © 2005 Usability Professionals' Association. By permission.
  7. Anne Kaikkonen. 2006. Usability problems in today's mobile Internet portals. Journal of Internet Technology, volume 7, number 3, pages 231-237.
  8. Virpi Roto, Roland Geisler, Anne Kaikkonen, Andrei Popescu, and Elina Vartiainen. 2006. Data traffic costs and mobile browsing user experience. In: MobEA IV Workshop on Empowering the Mobile Web, in conjunction with WWW 2006 conference. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. 23 May 2006, 6 pages. © 2006 by authors.
  9. Anne Kaikkonen, Aki Kekäläinen, Mikael Cankar, Titti Kallio, and Anu Kankainen. 2008. Will laboratory test results be valid in mobile contexts? In: Joanna Lumsden (editor). Handbook of Research on User Interface Design and Evaluation for Mobile Technology. Hershey, USA: Information Science Reference, volume II, chapter LIII, pages 897-909. © 2008 IGI Global. By permission.
  10. Anne Kaikkonen. 2008. Full or tailored mobile web- where and how do people browse on their mobiles? In: Jason Yi-Bing Lin, Han-Chieh Chao, and Peter Han Joo Chong (editors). Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Mobile Technology, Applications, and Systems (Mobility 2008). Yilan, Taiwan. 10-12 September 2008, Article No. 28.
  11. Anne Kaikkonen. 2009. Mobile Internet: past, present, and the future. International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, volume 1, number 3, pages 29-45. © 2009 IGI Global. By permission.

Keywords: mobile Internet, usability, user experience, mobile phone

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© 2009 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26