, Volume 4, Issue 2-3, pp 144-154

Spatial audio in small screen device displays

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Our work addresses the problem of (visual) clutter in mobile device interfaces. The solution we propose involves the translation of technique-from the graphical to the audio domain-for expliting space in information representation. This article presents an illustrative example in the form of a spatialisedaudio progress bar. In usability tests, participants performed background monitoring tasks significantly more accurately using this spatialised audio (a compared with a conventional visual) progress bar. Moreover, their performance in a simultaneously running, visually demanding foreground task was significantly improved in the eye-free monitoring condition. These results have important implications for the design of multi-tasking interfaces for mobile devices.