Spotlights: Attention-optimized highlights for skim reading [CHI’16]

Researchers at Aalto University contribute a novel technique to facilitate skim reading.

In response to motion blur and short object exposure when scrolling large documents, they present Spotlights, a scrolling technique that complements regular continuous scrolling at high speeds (2–20 pages/s). They present a novel design rule informed by theories of the human visual system for dynamically selecting objects and placing them on transparent overlays on top of the viewer. This improves the quality of visual processing at high scrolling rates by limiting the number of objects, ensuring minimal processing time per object, and keeping them static to avoid motion blur. Comprehension levels for long documents were comparable with those in continuous-rate-based scrolling, but Spotlights showed significantly better scrolling speed, gaze deployment, recall, lookup performance, and user-rated comprehension.

Long paper by Byungjoo Lee, Olli Savisaari and Antti Oulasvirta, accepted at CHI 2016.