CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Study of the Use of Paper Book Metaphors in the Design of Electronic Books

Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

The goal of this research was to determine which, if any, paper book metaphors are useful in the design of electronic books and to answer the following research question: Does the inclusion of paper book metaphors in electronic books provide improved user satisfaction with electronic books? The objectives were to I) gather user requirements for electronic book features and 2) determine how quickly users can find information in an electronic book using paper book (index and table of contents) and non-paper book (bookmarks and search tool) features. Data was gathered from a user survey and a user review of an electronic book. From the user survey, 48 features were rated by 163 participants and of these 48 features, 36 features were non-paper (electronic) and 12 were paper. Of the top ten features, three features (title page, table of contents, and bookshelf) were based on paper metaphors. Of the bottom ten features, only one feature was based on a paper metaphor, which was the watermark feature. Furthermore, the majority of low rated features were features that clearly were associated electronic capabilities not found in paper books. In the user survey, 23 participants completed the user review and those participants who used non-paper book features, bookmarks and search tool, found information more quickly and were more satisfied with the non-paper book features. A key finding of the user review was that the index is an important tool for finding information and users should be provided tools to create a dynamic index within electronic books to aid them in finding information. The significance of this study is there are few experimental studies available where participants of the study represented actual users of electronic books. This study also validated a list of features that can be used in future research such as determining preference for features based on genre as well as participant age.

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