Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial and Systems Engineering


Cary Feria


Fixations, Phablet, Preference, Search, Spacing, Summary

Subject Areas

Industrial engineering; Information science; Information technology


In previous studies, a positive relationship has been suggested between the screen size of a mobile device and the preferred summary length of a search result. The bigger the screen, the longer the summary preferred for judging the relevance of a result. While prior research has been focused on three types of devices (cell phones, PDAs, laptops), this study was concentrated on a new class of smartphone called a phablet that could eventually replace all three. In the current research, we investigated how two factors in the design of search result pages—summary length and line spacing—affect performance, behavioral and subjective measures on an information-seeking task executed on a phablet. We examined the effects of summary length (1, 3, 7, 10 lines) and line spacing (single, one and a half, double) on fixations, decision time, correctness, and preference. A direct relationship between summary length, fixations and decision time was found: as summary length increased, fixations and decision time also increased. No relationship between summary length and decision correctness was found. The optimal summary length for effectively judging the relevance of a search result—the one requiring the fewest fixations and shortest decision time—is one line. Because participants did not prefer one-line summaries, it is best to show three lines. As such, three-line summaries suggest a minimal tradeoff between performance and preference.