Supporting location learning in a spatial app launcher

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University of New Brunswick


For many day-to-day activities, we depend on smartphone apps. With an increasing number of apps available to use, managing and finding them can be frustrating and time consuming. Current app launchers work well with a small set of apps, but when the number of apps grows, the smartphone operating system provides multiple screens and folders that hide apps, which makes it difficult to find apps at a glance or to remember their location. Spatial interfaces have been proposed to deal with such problems, by leveraging peoples’ spatial memory to make finding apps easy, making interactions rapid and effortless. However, spatial interfaces only work when the location of an app is known. In this work, we introduce a modified search functionality, which helps a user to learn the locations of apps through a spatial interface for launching mobile phone apps. In our study, we compare the performance of the search-to-learn interface as compared to the standard search-to-launch style search interfaces found in current app launchers. Our study demonstrates how the added investment to learn app locations can add up to a long-term reduction in time to find apps.