A Diary Study of Mobile Information Needs

Timothy Sohn, Kevin A. Li, William G. Griswold and Jim Hollan
CS2007-0909
October 15, 2007

Being mobile influences not only the types of information people seek but also the ways they attempt to access it. Mobile contexts present challenges of changing location and social context, restricted time for information access, and the need to share attentional resources among concurrent activities. Understanding mobile information needs and associated interaction challenges is fundamental to improving designs for mobile phones and related devices. We conducted a two-week diary study to better understand mobile information needs and how they are addressed. Our study revealed that depending on the time and resources available, as well as the situational context, people use diverse and, at times, ingenious ways to obtain needed information. We summarize key findings and discuss design implications for mobile technology.


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