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A paper accepted at CHI 2023: Icon-Augmented Notifications

The paper “Can Icons Outperform Text? Understanding the Role of Pictograms in OHMD Notifications” has been accepted (conditionally) for the CHI 2023 conference in Hamburg, Germany. It explores the inconsistencies observed in the literature on the use of pictograms in digital notifications and proposes a new notification format to minimize distraction in head-mounted display notifications. Congratulations to the co-authors, Nuwan Janaka, Shengdong Zhao, and Shardul Sapkota!


Optical see-through head-mounted displays (OHMDs) can provide just-in-time digital assistance to users while they are engaged in ongoing tasks. However, given users’ limited attentional resources when multitasking, there is a need to concisely and accurately present information in OHMDs. Existing approaches for digital information presentation involve using either text or pictograms. While pictograms have enabled rapid recognition and easier use in warning messages and traffic signs, most studies using pictograms for digital notifications have exhibited unfavorable results. We thus conducted a series of four iterative studies to understand how we can support effective notification presentation on OHMDs during multitasking scenarios. We find that while icon-augmented notifications can outperform text-only notifications, their effectiveness depends on icon familiarity, encoding density, and environmental brightness. We reveal design implications when using icon-augmented notifications in OHMDs and present plausible reasons for the observed disparity in literature.

Read the full paper (camera ready) here.

ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-9421-5/23/04

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