As part of an international collaboration, Aalto University researchers have shown that our common understanding of what attracts visual attention to screens, in fact, does not transfer to mobile applications. Despite the widespread use of mobile phones and tablets in our everyday lives, this is the first study to empirically test how users’ eyes follow commonly used mobile app elements.
Previous work on what attracts visual attention, or visual saliency, has centered on desktop and web-interfaces.
‘Apps appear differently on a phone than on a desktop computer or browser: they’re on a smaller screen which simply fits fewer elements and, instead of a horizontal view, mobile devices typically use a vertical layout. Until now it was unclear how these factors would affect how apps actually attract our eyes,’ explains Aalto University Professor Antti Oulasvirta.
In the study, the research team used a large set of representative mobile interfaces and eye