Empirical Evidence for Context-aware Interfaces to Pedestrian Navigation Systems
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For geographical mobile search tasks it is rarely sufficient to assist users identifying what location they are currently looking for, e.g. a store, cafe or museum. Often the user needs support in being guided to a retrieved location in a physical space. This means that mobile search is strongly connected with navigation. There is a large body of work indicating that navigating towards points of interest is challenging for many people. In this work we explore how to support best this part of the task by investigating how objects in the physical world—landmarks—can be used in information systems to guide people to their desired location. We present the results of a series of eye tracking studies on the orientation behavior of persons executing indoor navigation tasks. The main finding of the studies is that the contextual relevance and the function of a landmark for completing the task efficiently matters more than the context-free salience of the same landmark. The findings have implications for the design of mobile search systems that support geographical search tasks as they lead to new context-adaptive strategies for navigation systems to explain routes. We provide evidence that even the interface has to adapt its content on the state of the navigation task and the current spatial context in order to provide user- and context-adaptive intuitive interaction.