Envisioning Mobile Information Services: Combining User- and Technology-Centered Design
We provide a meta-commentary on two approaches used for designing context-dependent mobile devices. On the basis of a ’user-centered’ approach, consisting of interviews, observation of current practice and enactment of future scenarios in context, a number of non-functional design sketches were developed. While these sketches reflected a rich understanding of current work practices, they were little more than abstract speculations about future practice; lacking in detail on usability and feasibility, and being largely reactive to current problem situations. Conducted in parallel, the technology-centered study informed the design and implementation of a mature functional prototype. This facilitated a comprehensive usability evaluation revealing a series of technical challenges and problems related to mobile use. Though the technology-centered approach provided detailed input for refining the prototype, and an initial provocative break with current practice, it was less useful in supplying further original alternatives; post-evaluation, the design discussion was largely reactive to the current prototype. In concert, the two approaches complement each other well; the user-centered approach grounding design in current practice, in all its contextual complexity, and the technology-centered approach providing a counterpoint in technically detailed expressions of future possibilities.
KeywordsUsability Evaluation User Study Route Planning Design Workshop Contextual Interview
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