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Capturing the effects of context on human performance in mobile computing systems


Many real world mobile device interactions occur in context-rich environments. However, the majority of empirical studies on mobile computing are conducted in static or idealized conditions, resulting in a deficit of understanding of how changes in context impact users’ abilities to perform effectively. This paper attempts to address the disconnect between the actual use and the evaluation of mobile devices by varying contextual conditions and recording changes in behavior. A study was performed to investigate the specific effects of changes in motion, lighting, and task type on user performance and workload. The results indicate that common contextual variations can lead to dramatic changes in behavior and that interactions between contextual factors are also important to consider.

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The authors are greatly indebted to Paula Edwards, V. Kathlene Leonard, Thitima Kongnakorn, and Kevin Moloney for their crucial assistance and support. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. IIS-0121570. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

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Correspondence to Julie A. Jacko.

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Barnard, L., Yi, J.S., Jacko, J.A. et al. Capturing the effects of context on human performance in mobile computing systems. Pers Ubiquit Comput 11, 81–96 (2007).

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  • Context
  • Mobile computing
  • Human performance
  • Movement
  • Lighting
  • Walking