Katie Han Thesis Final.pdf
cTed and SelectPDF, aim to be integrated with NuSys to allow a more fluid experience when
importing web content or working with regions of PDF documents.
To evaluate which selection gestures are in
fact most useful and natural for users, I
conducted a preliminary user study. I
designed three portions for participants to
complete. First, participants were asked to fill
out a preliminary online survey about their
usual channels and mechanisms of clipping
and sharing information found on the web.
Then, I conducted a pen-and-paper activity
of “selecting” or marking elements of printed Figure 1. An example of a lasso shape drawn with pen and
paper when a participant was asked to select the
web pages and documents to observe the
bottommost paragraph and the image to the right.
most intuitive actions for the participants.
Lastly, I asked a few questions verbally to bring out ideas on the kinds of interactions and
features a program such as cTed and SelectPDF should exhibit.
The survey indicated that participants, who are mostly college students, share content from the
Internet more than 2 times a day on average, mainly through the means of copy-and-paste and
device screenshot. Moreover, only two out of ten participants use a specific app or browser
plugin to capture and share information from the web, indicating that currently, software such as
cTed is not widely used. However, when asked at the end of the user study if they have ever
encountered a situation where they had trouble selecting specific content from the web, seven
out of ten participants answered “yes” and provided examples of such situations. One
participant quoted “some websites mess up selections because of ads on the side,” while
another described the difficulties she faced when trying to copy and paste a data table from the
web to her lab’s group message. Many also mentioned that copying and pasting snippets of
information is essential when writing a research paper for a class.
Figure 2. An example of color
categorization on a page of images.
From the pen-and-paper activity, I could see interesting
trends in how people typically mark up a specific part of a
page. In addition to reiterating the general use of lines on
text elements, brackets drawn on the left side of target
regions, and marquee shapes that indicate a rectangular
area, the study showed common usage of lasso gesture.
Figure 1 illustrates an example of the use of convex shapes
to mark multiple elements on a page. Meanwhile, people
frequently used different colors to mark regions, especially
image elements, as shown in Figure 2.