Shifting the focus from accuracy to recallability: A study of informal note-taking on mobile information technologies

Liwei Dai, Andrew Sears, Rich Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mobile information technologies are theoretically well-suited to digitally accomodate informal note-taking, with the notes often recorded quickly and under less than ideal circumstances. Unfortunately, user adoption of mobile support for informal note-taking has been hindered in large part by slow text entry techniques. Building on research confirming people's ability to recognize erroneous text, this study explores two simple modifications to Graffiti-based text entry with the goal of increasing text entry speed: disabling text correction and disabling visual feedback. As expected, both modifications improved text entry speed at the cost of recognizability. To address the decrease in recognizability, a multiapproach text-enhancement algorithm is introduced with the goal of modifying the erroneous note to facilitate the process of recalling the event or activity that originally motivated the note. A study with 75 participants confirmed that the proposed approach of discouraging user-initiated error correction during note-taking, enhancing the resulting erroneous notes, and facilitating recall with enhanced alternative lists, increased note-taking speed by 47% with no negative impact on the participants' ability to recall important details about the scenarios which prompted the note-taking activities. This research highlighs the importance and efficacy of shifting the focus from accuracy to recallability when examining the overall efficacy of informal notes. The proposed modifications and adaptations produce significant benefits and have important implications for how mobile technologies are designed to support both informal note-taking and text entry in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Shifting the focus from accuracy to recallability: A study of informal note-taking on mobile information technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this