Leading displays represent mechanisms for exhibiting temporal instead of spatial information to overcome the limited display space of mobile devices. Prior studies focused only on information presented but disregarded the influence of context of use and learnability. In this study, 12 Chinese-speaking college students were presented a small-screen mobile device that simultaneously showed 100 Chinese characters and a 30-character leading display. Analyzed were presentation rate (250, 350, and 450 characters per minute), presentation mode (character-by-character or word-by-word), and learning (5 practice sessions) by instructing the subjects to perform a static information search task to identify the location of target characters on the screen and through an evaluation of reading comprehension for the text presented in the leading display. There was no significant change in performance over the 5 days of practice, but the rate of presentation and word-by-word presentation significantly affected reading comprehension. Results indicated that none of the leading-display factors distracted subjects from the static information-search task, but they were influenced by comprehension of the leading-display content.
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