Understanding visual saliency in mobile user interfaces

Luis A. Leiva, Yunfei Xue, Avya Bansal, Hamed R. Tavakoli, Tuðçe Köroðlu, Jingzhou Du, Niraj R. Dayama, Antti Oulasvirta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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For graphical user interface (UI) design, it is important to understand what attracts visual attention. While previous work on saliency has focused on desktop and web-based UIs, mobile app UIs differ from these in several respects. We present findings from a controlled study with 30 participants and 193 mobile UIs. The results speak to a role of expectations in guiding where users look at. Strong bias toward the top-left corner of the display, text, and images was evident, while bottom-up features such as color or size affected saliency less. Classic, parameter-free saliency models showed a weak fit with the data, and data-driven models improved significantly when trained specifically on this dataset (e.g., NSS rose from 0.66 to 0.84). We also release the first annotated dataset for investigating visual saliency in mobile UIs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings - 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services
Subtitle of host publicationExpanding the Horizon of Mobile Interaction, MobileHCI 2020
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450375160
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services - Oldenburg, Germany
Duration: 5 Oct 20209 Oct 2020
Conference number: 22


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services
Abbreviated titleMobileHCI


  • Computer Vision
  • Deep Learning
  • Human Perception and Cognition
  • Interaction Design

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