The effects of tree-view based presentation adaptation on mobile web browsing

Reference: Adipat, B., Zhang, D., & Zhou, L. (2011). The effects of tree-view based presentation adaptation on mobile web browsing. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 99-121

Main idea: The following article focuses on possibilities to enhance the visibility of a website on a handheld mobile device.


With the increase of mobile telephone usage these days, people also tend to browse through the internet sites on these devices. However, the size of mobile handheld devices poses a constraint on the comfort and ease of use of surfing through the web on mobile phones, since they restrict text and information all at once and people would have to either zoom out or try to remember what they last read and link it to what they will start to read. Other negative aspects associated with the mobile handheld device, is the capacity of storage and limited memory. However, positive aspects are also identified and what is now mostly common is the term “ubiquitous”, the ability to be connected anywhere and anytime with the handheld mobile devices.
Most websites have been designed for larger screens such as computers and portable computers and are poorly suited for handheld devices. According to W3C (the World Wide Web consortium) “adaptation is defined as a process of selection, generation, or modification that produces one or more perceivable units in response to a requested uniform source. Presentation adaptation involves a process of re-authoring or rearranging the content layout of a web page in order to achieve more effective content navigation and improve user experience with mobile web.

This research aims to find the answer to these questions: “can presentation adaptation techniques improve user performance and perception? “Will more presentation adaptation features result in better user performance and perception? And “how does the impact of presentation adaptation vary with complexity”? What is suggested to facilitate the web search and web browsing with handheld mobile devices is three techniques that might make it easier to use the web on a handheld mobile device.

First, “tree-view hierarchical display”. To make it clearer, this approach presents the content of a web page in a tree-type, multilevel hierarchy. “Instead of showing the original Web content entirely, it first displays major section titles in a Web page at the highest level of the tree. Users can click a section title of interest, and the tree will either expand to show the next level branches or display the detailed content of the section selected”. This tree view based technique will make it easier for browsers on handheld mobile devices to have a clearer page and read with more ease without the need to go back and forth and scrolling up or down.

Second there’s the notion of “text summarization” where parts of the text are abstracted and readers are provided with the necessary condensed information.

And finally, the third technique to make browsing easier on handheld mobile users, is the technique of “colored keyword highlighting:” is the use of visualization techniques to highlight and point out on the keywords appearing in a certain section which will make it easier to point out the important words and context of the content available.