User Centred Rapid Application Development
This paper describes our experiences modifying the Rapid Application Development methodology for rapid system development to design a data gathering system for mobile fieldworkers using handheld computers in harsh environmental conditions. In our development process, we integrated User-Centred Design as an explicit stage in the Rapid Application Development (RAD) software engineering methodology. We describe our design process in detail and present a case study of its use in the development of a working system. Finally, we use the design of the working system to highlight some of the lessons learned, and provide guidelines for the design of software systems for mobile data collection. In pursuing this project, we worked with field ecologists monitoring the evolution of coastal wetlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. The overall goal of the ecology project was to provide accurate information on the impact development has on these wetland areas. While the architecture of our system is tuned to the specific needs of the ecologists with whom we worked, the design process and the lessons we learned during design are of interest to other software engineers designing for similar work practices.
KeywordsCoastal Wetland Application Logic Participatory Design Limited Term Ecology Project
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