Attention allocation on mobile app interfaces when human interacts with them

Li Zhu, Gaochao Cui, Yan Li, Jianhai Zhang, Wanzeng Kong, Andrzej Cichocki, Junhua Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With the popularity of smartphones and the pervasion of mobile apps, people spend more and more time to interact with a diversity of apps on their smartphones, especially for young population. This raises a question: how people allocate attention to interfaces of apps during using them. To address this question, we, in this study, designed an experiment with two sessions (i.e., Session1: browsing original interfaces; Session 2: browsing interfaces after removal of colors and background) integrating with an eyetracking system. Attention fixation durations were recorded by an eye-tracker while participants browsed app interfaces. The whole screen of smartphone was divided into four even regions to explore fixation durations. The results revealed that participants gave significantly longer total fixation duration on the bottom left region compared to other regions in the session (1) Longer total fixation duration on the bottom was preserved, but there is no significant difference between left side and right side in the session2. Similar to the finding of total fixation duration, first fixation duration is also predominantly paid on the bottom area of the interface. Moreover, the skill in the use of mobile phone was quantified by assessing familiarity and accuracy of phone operation and was investigated in the association with the fixation durations. We found that first fixation duration of the bottom left region is significantly negatively correlated with the smartphone operation level in the session 1, but there is no significant correlation between them in the session (2) According to the results of ratio exploration, the ratio of the first fixation duration to the total fixation duration is not significantly different between areas of interest for both sessions. The findings of this study provide insights into the attention allocation during browsing app interfaces and are of implications on the design of app interfaces and advertisements as layout can be optimized according to the attention allocation to maximally deliver information.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Neurodynamics
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Advertising region
  • Attention allocation
  • Eye-tracking
  • Mobile app interfaces


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