Revisiting read wear: analysis, design, and evaluation of a footprints scrollbar

Jason Alexander, Andy Cockburn, Stephen Fitchett, Carl Gutwin, Saul Greenberg

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

66 Citations (SciVal)
64 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we show that people frequently return to previously-visited regions within their documents, and that scrollbars can be enhanced to ease this task. We analysed 120 days of activity logs from Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader. Our analysis shows that region revisitation is a common activity that can be supported with relatively short recency lists. This establishes an empirical foundation for the design of an enhanced scrollbar containing scrollbar marks that helps people return to previously visited document regions. Two controlled experiments show that scrollbar marks decrease revisitation time, and that a large number of marks can be used effectively. We then design an enhanced Footprints scrollbar that supports revisitation with several features, including scrollbar marks and mark thumbnails. Two further experiments show that the Footprints scrollbar was frequently used and stronglypreferred over traditional scrollbars.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '09)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-60558-246-7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2009

Publication series

NameCHI '09


  • Document revisitation
  • read wear
  • Scrolling


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