Proceedings: GI 2015

Twist and pulse: ephemeral adaptation to improve icon selection on smartphones

Antoine Ponsard , Kamyar Ardekani , Kailun Zhang , Frederic Ren , Matei Negulescu , Joanna McGrenere

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2015: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 3 - 5 June 2015, 219-222

DOI 10.20380/GI2015.28

  • Bibtex

    author = {Ponsard, Antoine and Ardekani, Kamyar and Zhang, Kailun and Ren, Frederic and Negulescu, Matei and McGrenere, Joanna},
    title = {Twist and pulse: ephemeral adaptation to improve icon selection on smartphones},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2015},
    series = {GI 2015},
    year = {2015},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4822-6003-8},
    location = {Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada},
    pages = {219--222},
    numpages = {4},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2015.28},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


The concept of ephemeral adaptation was introduced to reduce visual search time in GUI menus, while preserving spatial consistency and minimizing distraction. We extend this concept to the visual search of app icons on smartphones, in order to speed up launching apps from a homescreen. We created ephemeral highlighting effects based on preattentive visual properties including size, orientation, color, opacity and blur. We then conducted informal design and evaluation cycles from which Twist (icon rotates back and forth) and Pulse (icon grows and shrinks) were the most promising effects. An experiment comparing these two effects to a control condition showed that these effects improve search time performance by 8--10% and Pulse is subjectively preferred.