Spotlights: Attention-optimised highlights for skim reading

Byungjoo Lee, Olli Savisaari, Antti Oulasvirta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Citations (Scopus)


The paper contributes a novel technique that can improve user performance in skim reading. Users typically use a continuous-rate-based scrolling technique to skim works such as longer Web pages, e-books, and PDF files. However, visual attention is compromised at higher scrolling rates because of motion blur and extraneous objects with overly brief exposure times. In response, we present Spotlights. It complements the regular continuous technique at high speeds (2-20 pages/s). We 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 1) limiting the number of objects, 2) ensuring minimal processing time per object, and 3) keeping objects static to avoid motion blur and facilitate gaze deployment. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 7
Event34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: 2016 May 72016 May 12

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 ACM.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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