Original Article

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 97-106

First online:

Interacting with mobile services: an evaluation of camera-phones and visual tags

  • Eleanor ToyeAffiliated withIntel Research Cambridge Email author 
  • , Richard SharpAffiliated withIntel Research Cambridge
  • , Anil MadhavapeddyAffiliated withComputer Laboratory, Cambridge University
  • , David ScottAffiliated withComputer Laboratory, Cambridge University
  • , Eben UptonAffiliated withComputer Laboratory, Cambridge University
  • , Alan BlackwellAffiliated withComputer Laboratory, Cambridge University

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We present a study of using camera-phones and visual-tags to access mobile services. Firstly, a user-experience study is described in which participants were both observed learning to interact with a prototype mobile service and interviewed about their experiences. Secondly, a pointing-device task is presented in which quantitative data was gathered regarding the speed and accuracy with which participants aimed and clicked on visual-tags using camera-phones. We found that participants’ attitudes to visual-tag-based applications were broadly positive, although they had several important reservations about camera-phone technology more generally. Data from our pointing-device task demonstrated that novice users were able to aim and click on visual-tags quickly (well under 3 s per pointing-device trial on average) and accurately (almost all meeting our defined speed/accuracy tradeoff of 6% error-rate). Based on our findings, design lessons for camera-phone and visual-tag applications are presented.