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«Web Page Enhancement on Desktop and Mobile Browsers by Chen-Hsiang Yu B.S., Tamkang University (1998) M.S., National Taiwan University (2000) ...»

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Web Page Enhancement on Desktop and Mobile

Browsers

by

Chen-Hsiang Yu

B.S., Tamkang University (1998)

M.S., National Taiwan University (2000)

Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and

Computer Science

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosopny

at the

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

February 2013

c Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2012. All rights reserved.

Author.............................................................

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science November 30, 2012 Certified by........................................................

Robert C. Miller Associate Professor Thesis Supervisor Accepted by.......................................................

Professor Leslie Kolodziejski Chair, Department Committee on Graduate Students Web Page Enhancement on Desktop and Mobile Browsers by Chen-Hsiang Yu Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science on November 30, 2012, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosopny Abstract The Web is a convenient platform to deliver information, but reading web pages is not as easy as it was in 1990s. This thesis focuses on investigating techniques to enhance web pages on desktop and mobile browsers for two specific populations: non-native English readers and mobile users. There are three issues addressed in this thesis: web page readability, web page skimmability and continuous reading support on mobile devices.

On today’s primarily English-language Web, non-native readers encounter some problems, even if they have some fluency in English. This thesis focuses on content presentation and proposes a new transformation method, Jenga Format, to enhance web page readability. A user study with 30 non-native users showed that Jenga transformation not only improved reading comprehension, but also made the web page reading easier.

On the other hand, readability research has found that average reading times for non-native readers has remained the same or even worse. This thesis studies this issue and proposes Froggy GX (Generation neXt) to improve reading under time constraints. A user study with 20 non-native users showed that Froggy GX not only enhanced reading comprehension under time constraints, but also provided higher user satisfaction than reading unaided.

When using the Web on mobile devices, the reading situation becomes challenging. Even worse, context switches, such as from walking to sitting, static standing, or hands-free situations like driving, happen in reading in on-the-go situations, but this scenario was not adequately addressed in previous studies.

This thesis investigates this scenario and proposes a new mobile browser, Read4Me, to support continuous reading on a mobile device. A user study with 10 mobile users showed that auto-switching not only provided significantly fewer dangerous encounters than visual-reading, but also provided the best reading experience.

Thesis Supervisor: Robert C. Miller Title: Associate Professor Acknowledgments It was a big decision for me when I decided to leave my country and pursue a Ph.D. at MIT six years ago, especially since I had a stable life then. People thought I was crazy to pursue such a noble endeavor, but this thesis is a testament to my commitment and a gift to all my family members who have supported my dream.

Numerous individuals have helped me in this journey and I want to acknowledge them here to show my appreciation.

First of all, I thank my advisor, Rob Miller, who taught me how to be a good researcher and challenged me to ask critical questions, including ”why” and ”why not”. Under his supervision, I removed ”impossible” from my dictionary and realized that the only limitation at MIT is no limitation. I also thank my thesis committee, Jim Glass and Victor Zue, who gave me numerous useful comments to improve my thesis. Furthermore, I am grateful to my master advisor, Jieh Hsiang, from National Taiwan University (NTU) and undergraduate advisor, Chin-Hwa Kuo, from Tamkang University, both of whom helped me prepare for advanced research at MIT. My internship mentors at IBM Research, Jennifer Thom and David Millen, also helped me think deeper about issues in corporate environments.

There were more than 141 users who participated in my research and contributed their thoughts to help me. During my research, I also worked with M.

Ehsan Hoque, Juho Kim and Katharina Reinecke on projects related to my research topics. Their comments are always inspiring and useful to me. I especially want to thank Eunsuk Kang, Hung-An Chang, Max Goldman, Katrina Panovach and Greg Little, who helped me a lot in my research. I regularly have a CSAIL buddy meeting with Oshani Seneviratne, Gabriel Zaccak, Fuming Shih and Yuan Shen and have received many useful comments from them. On a regular basis, User Interface Group (UID) members have helped me substantially in many aspects: Greg Little, Max Goldman, Katrina Panovich, Juho Kim, Michael Bernstein, Adam Marcus, Tsung-Hsiang Chang, Hubert Pham, Tom Lieber, Geza Kovacs, Eirik Bakke, Kyle Murray, David Hayden, Carrie Cai, Hyowon Lee, Haoqi Zhang, Max Van Kleek, Jeff Bigham, Joey Lawrance, David Huynh, Lydia Chilton, Matthew Webber, Richard Chan, Yafim Landa, Sangmok Han, Michael Bolin, and many others. Friends at CSAIL include Yushi Xu, Dah-Yoh Lim, Chih-Yu Chao, Ted Benson, Jacqueline Lee, Owen Chen, Hsin-Jung Yang, Marco D. Santambrogio and Andrea Mocci. Maria Rebelo, Mary McDavitt, Cree Bruins and Sally Lee provided administrative assistants to save my life. My language partner, Lily Jeng, has helped me improve my English speaking for the past five years. Supporting friends from Quanta Computer include Barry Lam, Ted Chang, Roger Huang and Steve Heller.





Last but not least, I want to thank my grandparents, parents and my young sister, Susan Yu, and all Taiwanese relatives. I especially thank my wife, Julie Leh, who has stayed with me without regrets in the past 20 years and taken care of our children, Jennifer Yu, Johnathon Yu and soon-to-come Jocelyn Yu.

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under award numbers IIS-0447800, and by Quanta Computer as part of the T-Party (Qmulus) Project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this thesis are the authors, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.

Contents

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2-1 VSTF coverts a block of text, such as the first sentence from the U.S.

Declaration of Independence, to cascading patterns: (a) original format; and (b) VSTF format. [86].................... 28 3-1 Paper prototypes of 3 paragraph transformation examples..... 35 3-2 Standard Format (SF)........................... 36 3-3 Using Clip Read software to read content in visual-syntactic text formatting (VSTF) format [86]...................... 37 3-4 Jenga Format (JF) transformation.................... 38 3-5 User clicks on a paragraph and read it in JF transformation..... 41 3-6 Visual-Syntactic Text Formatting (VSTF) transformation....... 42 3-7 Questions from the user study: (a) example questions of the comprehension part; and (b) the complete set of questions for the subjective part.................................. 43 3-8 Reading speed for each condition, in words per second. Error bars show standard error............................ 46 3-9 Comprehension for each condition (measured by number of correct answers to a 5-question quiz about the article).......... 46 3-10 Comprehension per unit time (measured by number of correct answers per second of reading time).................... 47 3-11 Ease of reading (rated on a scale from 1=very difficult to 7=very easy) 47 3-12 User’s self-evaluation of understanding (measured on a scale from 1=very difficult to 7=very easy)...................... 49 4-1 Skim reading environment for non-native readers. (a) Original web page; (b) transformed page for skim reading; and (3) reading in Jenga format (Please refer to Chapter 3 for Jenga format)....... 57 4-2 Reading comprehension is measured by number of correct answer to a 5-question quiz............................ 58 4-3 Examples of transformations used in paper prototype. (1) key sentence highlighting; (2) key sentences shown as bullet points in a popup window; (3) key sentences translated into a reader’s native language, and (4) presenting translated key sentences at the beginning of the article.............................. 60 4-4 Froggy GX - an extension of Firefox browser. (Left: Default state;

Right: Skim mode is triggered)...................... 62 4-5 Important sentences remain readable and unimportant sentences are made less visible............................ 62 4-6 Paragraph transformation. (Top) Original paragraph; and (Bottom) Double click to expand a paragraph to Jenga format animatedly.

Salient sentences are highlighted and a gray separation line is added to the top and bottom of the selected paragraph............ 63 4-7 Semantic data integration for referencing. (Top: Name entity instance is marked with dotted underline; Bottom: Mouse hover the instance and show the definition sentence of the name entity in this article.)................................. 65 4-8 In-place translation support. (Top: A partial selection; Bottom: A popup with the translation.)....................... 65 4-9 The environment setting of skim-reading user study.......... 72 4-10 Example reading comprehension question (part 2 of the questionnaire) and example memory-for-meaning question (part 3)..... 74 4-11 The graph on the left shows reading comprehension between using and not using the tool under a time constraint. The graph on the right shows second round reading without using the tool and a time constraint............................... 77 4-12 The reading time of the second round reading............. 78 4-13 Ease of reading (rated on a scale from 1 = very difficult to 7 = very easy)..................................... 78 4-14 Self-evaluation of understanding (rated on a scale from 1 = very difficult to 7 = very easy).......................... 79 4-15 Enjoyability of reading (rated on a scale from 1 = very unenjoyable to 7 = very enjoyable)............................ 80 5-1 Four investigated conditions....................... 88 5-2 The floor plan of user study experiment. The blue line is the path that participants had to follow...................... 89 5-3 The floor plan of user study experiment. The blue line is the path that participants had to follow...................... 91 5-4 The difference between marked sentences and paragraphs (left) with plain ones (right)........................... 92 5-5 Reading speed for each condition, in words per second. Error bars show standard error............................ 94 5-6 Comprehension for each condition (measured by number of correct answers to a 5-question quiz).................... 94 5-7 The number of out of path steps for each condition.......... 95 5-8 Ease of reading (rated on a scale from 1=very difficult to 7=very easy). 96 5-9 User’s self-evaluation of understanding (1=very difficult, 7=very easy). 97 5-10 The phone is in (a) viewing position (b) listening position and (c) in docking position............................. 102 5-11 The Read4Me browser interface: (left) menu options (right) when using a figure to touch on the screen, manual-switching can be enabled or disabled.............................. 104 5-12 Stereo headset remote controller for Voice Annotation, Emoticon Highlighting and Line Control....................... 106 5-13 Adding voice memos to sentences on-the-go.............. 107 5-14 Adding Emoticon Highlighting on-the-go................ 108 6-1 The design space of web page enhancement. The choices covered in this thesis are highlighted with pink colors.............. 117 List of Tables

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4.1 The comparison of the important sentences selected by native readers and Froggy GX. C1 : Important sentences selected by native readers; and C2 : Important sentences selected by Froggy GX........ 70

5.1 Evaluating the testing dataset (250 samples) on five trained SVMs.. 109 Chapter 1 Introduction The Web is a convenient platform to deliver information, but reading web pages is not as easy as it was in 1990s. Part of the reason are the pervasive usability issues happening on today’s web pages. There are different needs from different user groups, such as disabled individuals suffering from blindness and dyslexia, and non-native readers. On a mobile device, information access is much more difficult. In this thesis, I enhance web pages on desktop and mobile browsers for two specific populations: non-native English readers, and mobile users. I enhance web pages from three directions: readability, skimmability, and mobile continuous reading.

1.1 Problems



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