Photo searching on small screen devices

Patel, Dynal (2007)

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The aim of this thesis is to improve HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) knowledge in the design of the next generation of photo search tools on small display devices. Today, these devices have all the ingredients for a truly mobile photo collection, such as large storage, multiple networking capabilities and high resolution screens. However, they lack the tools for searching through large collections of photographs. This is particularly important as users have expressed a desire to store images on mobile devices in the long term. No substantial research has looked at addressing users searching needs. Few researchers have considered the importance of supporting both searching and browsing to cater for user needs. None that we could find have assessed the potential impact of adding desktop-based annotation capabilities. Consequently, this thesis seeks to address these challenges and provide an empirical foundation for the design of photo search tools. To achieve these objectives an iterative user-centered design methodology was employed. The end practical result was a single photo search interface that incorporates the best traits of a variety of tools to support search. The thesis reflects on each cycle in the iterative design process. The first major area of contribution to the field of HCI improves existing knowledge on photo searching behavior by providing a number of empirically grounded findings about searching behavior. It identifies some of the core factors that influence search strategies and outlines a conceptual framework to guide the design of future systems. The second area of contribution is a single photo searching tool for small display devices that is based on iterative studies of various user interface designs. It integrates multiple search methods within a single user interface. In contrast to previous research in this area, the design is centered on locating events rather than individual images as we found that people naturally associate photographs with events when searching.