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Published on May 31, 2016
XDBrowser: User-Defined Cross-Device Web Page Designs Michael Nebeling, Anind K. Dey
CHI '16: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Session: Multi-Device Interaction
Abstract There is a significant gap in the body of research on cross-device interfaces. Research has largely focused on enabling them technically, but when and how users want to use cross-device interfaces is not well understood. This paper presents an exploratory user study with XDBrowser, a cross-device web browser we are developing to enable non-technical users to adapt existing single-device web interfaces for cross-device use while viewing them in the browser. We demonstrate that an end-user customization tool like XDBrowser is a powerful means to conduct user-driven elicitation studies useful for understanding user preferences and design requirements for cross-device interfaces. Our study with 15 participants elicited 144 desirable multi-device designs for five popular web interfaces when using two mobile devices in parallel. We describe the design space in this context, the usage scenarios targeted by users, the strategies used for designing cross-device interfaces, and seven concrete mobile multi-device design patterns that emerged. We discuss the method, compare the cross-device interfaces from our users and those defined by developers in prior work, and establish new requirements from observed user behavior. In particular, we identify the need to easily switch between different interface distributions depending on the task and to have more fine-grained control over synchronization.