Augmenting spatial skills with mobile devices

D Boari, M Fraser, Danae Stanton Fraser, K Cater

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

3 Citations (SciVal)


Mobile devices are increasingly providing novel ways for users to engage with the spaces around them. However, there are few systematic studies of enhancing spatial ability with mobile devices, and applications such as turn-by-turn navigation systems have even been associated with a decline in spatial skills. In this paper we present a study based on the 1971 Shepard-Metzler mental rotation test but performed on a mobile-phone handset and a tablet PC. Our study extends the original experiment with the incorporation of touch and tilt interaction techniques, in order to determine if these affect the use and acquisition of spatial skills. Results suggest that the task is performed faster, and with no significant difference in accuracy, when participants rely on mental abilities rather than interaction techniques to perform 3D rotations. We also find significant differences between tablet and phone handset platforms under interactive conditions. We conclude that applications on mobile devices could be designed to enhance rather than erode spatial skills, by supporting the use of imagination to align real and virtual content.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '12 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450310154
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2012): Mobile Computing and Interaction - Austin, Texas
Duration: 5 May 201210 May 2012


ConferenceACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2012): Mobile Computing and Interaction
CityAustin, Texas


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