It's Not Just the Light: Understanding the Factors Causing Situational Visual Impairments During Mobile Interaction

Garreth Tigwell, David Flatla, Rachel Menzies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

18 Citations (Scopus)
201 Downloads (Pure)


Mobile technologies are used in increasingly diverse and challenging environments. With the predominantly visual nature of mobile devices, Situational Visual Impairments (SVIs) are a growing concern. However, fundamental knowledge is lacking about the causes of SVIs, how people deal with SVIs, and whether their solutions are effective. To address this, we first conducted a convenience-sampled online questionnaire with 174 participants, and identified many causes and (ineffective) solutions. To firmly ground our initial results, we then conducted a two-week ecological momentary assessment with 24 participants, balanced by age and gender across Australia and Scotland. We confirmed that SVIs are experienced often and during typical mobile tasks, and can be very frustrating. We identify a range of factors causing SVIs, discuss mobile design implications, and introduce an SVI Context Model rooted in empirical evidence. The contributions in this paper will support the development of new effective SVI solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordiCHI 2018
Subtitle of host publicationRevisiting the Life Cycle - Proceedings of the 10th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450364379
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2018
EventNordiCHI 2018 - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 1 Oct 20183 Oct 2018


ConferenceNordiCHI 2018
Internet address


  • Accessibility
  • Mobile devices
  • Situational impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software


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