Research and Advances

Mobile Web 2.0 With Multi-Display Buttons

User-Generated Content (UGC) IS A BURGEONING social phenomenon being watched in today's world with keen interest. UGC is an online new-media content created by users rather than by conventional media such as broadcasters. A typical example would be Flickr, an online photo-sharing site with 37 million images, to which its 1.2 million members add up to 200,000 images daily. UGC is shifting the paradigm of Internet use away from the one-way propagation of media content by companies towards the creation and sharing of media content by and among ordinary users. The mobile phone is an especially important means of promoting user generation and exchange of media content. Many mobile phones now have built-in digital cameras and inherent network connectivity. These features have greatly facilitated the creation and sharing of media content. For instance, users can immediately upload photos on Flickr with their mobile phones as well as access Flickr and browse other people's media content. However, the constraints of a typical mobile phone---its small display and limited number of buttons---make use of mobile UGC services challenging. Only a few studies have investigated hardware or software alternatives to address these problems. This article presents a new user interface (UI) for mobile phones, one that makes use of UGC services easier and more efficient. The new interface has two key characteristics: one pertaining to content structure, and another to content visualization. More specifically, the new UI employs two major mobile Web 2.0 technologies, the tag and the tag cloud, and multi-display buttons increase the display size and flexibility of individual buttons. The interface is dedicated specifically towards supporting exploratory browsing within mobile UGC services, because users of such services are likely to focus on exploratory browsing and serendipitous discovery and be more inclined toward entertainment rather than utility. Here, we describe the new interface and investigate whether it aids in enhancing exploratory browsing within mobile UGC services.


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