Mitigating the Effects of Reading Interruptions by Providing Reviews and Previews

ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts (CHI'EA)

Published May 8, 2021

Namrata Srivastava, Rajiv Jain, Jennifer Healey, Zoya Bylinskii, Tilman Dingler

As reading on mobile devices is becoming more ubiquitous, content is consumed in shorter intervals and is punctuated by frequent interruptions. In this work, we explore the best way to mitigate the effects of reading interruptions on longer text passages. Our hypothesis is that short summaries of either previously read content (reviews) or upcoming content (previews) will help the reader re-engage with the reading task. Our target use case is for students who study using electronic textbooks and who are frequently mobile. We present a series of pilot studies that examine the benefits of different types of summaries and their locations, with respect to variations in text content and participant cohorts. We find that users prefer reviews after an interruption, but that previews shown after interruptions have a larger positive influence on comprehension. Our work is a first step towards smart reading applications that proactively provide text summaries to mitigate interruptions on the go.

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