Many websites are still not optimized for mobile phones. For my Master's thesis, I therefore developed W3Touch, a plugin that collects user interactions and automatically adapts websites based on them. For instance, if users always zoom into a certain paragraph of text, that paragraph will be increased based on the average zooming factor. This creates self-repairing websites that adjust over time and at the same time highlights the most important information.

A research paper about W3Touch has been published at the 2013 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
ETH Zurich
Team of 2
Sep 2011–Mar 2012
What I was/did
Master's Student
User Research
System Design + Architecture
How the process turned out
literature review
first prototype
user study
second prototype
user study
Identifying Common Usability Issues.
To build a plugin that automatically enhances the usability of websites on mobile devices, we first had to identify common usability issues that required attention and how they should be addressed. For this, we reviewed existing literature as well as the Wikipedia desktop site in comparison to their mobile app and in a second step conducted interviews with six web designers. From these, we identified two core issues: links that are too small and therefore missed and unreadable text.
Using W3Touch to Adapt Wikipedia.
I developed a first version of W3Touch, with which we conducted a remote asynchronous user study with 84 participants. In this study, we collected user interactions on the desktop version of Wikipedia as used on a mobile phone by one half of the participants. We then created an adapted version based on the collected data that was assessed by the other half and performed considerably better. Afterwards, the W3Touch prototype was revised according to the collected user feedback.
The three-step process of W3Touch: First, a user interacts with a website on a mobile device. Second, the system records taps that potentially missed a link and where the user zoomed. Finally, the website is automatically adapted based on these interactions.
Great Success.
Finally, we carried out another user study, this time in-lab with 13 participants, to validate our results. We compared the version of Wikipedia adapted by W3Touch to both the desktop site and Wikipedia's dedicated mobile page. Results suggested that the W3Touch version was able to compete with the version specifically designed for mobile, which is a promising result given the relatively small design effort based on only two core usability issues.