Linked Internet UI

Linked Internet UI Concept

Picture this: Michael is a 27-year-old exhibition organizer. He is keen on keeping in constant touch with his contacts on Flickr, Twitter, OviShare, and several other online services. Linked Internet UI Concept has been created to help Michael and people like him. It introduces an innovative mobile UI paradigm to facilitate multiple service usage. The concept aggregates content from multiple services, associates the content through links, and recommends the content most relevant to the users. All these innovations aim to help people keep in touch with their contacts on the go.

We have developed a functional demo of our research UI concept that runs on a Nokia Maemo development device. It consists of a custom-built web runtime on top of QTWebKit, the Linked Internet UI Platform, written using HTML5, JavaScript, and a SQL database backend. The platform supports online and offline operation and is able to synchronize data with services for efficient offline use. Our current prototype supports Flickr, Ovi, Twitter, among others for demonstration and user evaluation purposes; and it can be extended to cover new views, content types, and services. The demo debuts at Nokia World 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany. The short video below shows its essential messages.

Tracking contacts across services

Linked Internet UI Concept aggregates content dispersed over multiple services; as a result, the concept helps users to concentrate on the content and actions that interests them.The users no longer need to check updates by repeatedly opening multiple Web sites; instead, they can track all their all their contacts across all services via this simple and intuitive user interface.

The concept also frees the users' content from local application silos, by seamlessly combining content from online services. For example, a user can instantly navigate from an SMS message to another Flickr photo, without having to switch between SMS application and the Web Browser in the middle. It has never been so easy to navigate personal content across multiple applications and services on a mobile device.

Discovering content through links

Linked Internet UI Concept understands the content, and links related content using the same navigation method as the Web. The linkage is based on similarity of the content, such as similar service sources, associated contacts, or assigned tags. For example, photos are linked if they are shared or commented by the same person, or taken in the same location. By leveraging the links between related content items, the concept can help people to discover content that they may not be able to find otherwise.

Maps are another good example. Once a photo taken in a particular location, a user can easily jump to other geo-tagged photos taken nearby, regardless of what service hosts the photos or which contact publishes them. In addition to photos, the user can also get easy access to other types of content, for example, Twitter messages sent from the same location, or contacts wandering somewhere nearby.

In addition to the link structure, Linked Internet UI Concept also supports other familiar web-related interaction mechanisms. For example, users can always come back to previous views through back-stepping or via the history list; and they can also bookmark any views that they consider to be important.

Accessing the relevant content

Linked Internet UI Concept identifies "interesting" content by learning the user's habits. The users are facing high volumes of online content shared by their contacts on various services and applications. They may find some content is very important, but most of it is not. Linked Internet UI Concept prioritizes the content and highlights the items most likely to be important. It does that by learning the users' habits over time, and by adapting to provide them with personalized views.

In one use case, the personalized search highlights the results that are similar to the ones that a user typically looks at. These results have a higher probability of being interesting to the user. The mechanism also applies to any situation where an abundance of content is available. In its home view, Linked Internet UI Concept presents a user's contacts who are active in various online services and social networks. This above-mentioned mechanism is used to determine whose thumbnails should be prominently displayed.


In summary, Linked Internet UI Concept helps users to keep track of the most relevant on-line activities of their contacts. It aggregates content from online services so the users can easily track their contacts without concern for which service is in use. It understands the content and makes it possible to navigate relevant content using conventional Web navigation paradigms. It also learns from early user behavior and automatically highlights content so that the user can easily find the content of relevance. 


Yanqing Cui, Mikko Honkala, Kari Pihkala, Kimmo Kinnunen and Guido Grassel: Linked Internet UI: A Mobile User Interface Optimized for Social Networking; Proceedings of the 12th international conference on Human computer interaction with mobile devices and service

About us

Linked Internet UI Concept is a research concept, resulting from NRC's on-going exploration into new user interfaces. It has been created and developed by the Web User Interface and User Experience team at Nokia Research Center Helsinki. Our team's mission is to enable the fusion of Web and mobile devices by researching Internet user experience and Web technologies. The researchers who currently contribute to the Linked Internet UI Concept are: Yanqing Cui, Guido Grassel, Mikko Honkala, Olli Immonen, Kimmo Kinnunen, Elina Ollila, and Mika Rautava. Please contact the team lead Guido Grassel for any questions concerning this concept or our team.