Usability Design for Location Based Mobile Services in Wireless Metropolitan Networks

Usability Design for Location Based Mobile Services in Wireless Metropolitan Networks

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Inhaltsangabe:Abstract: The market of mobile technologies is growing at an enormous rate worldwide. With the latest developments in technology, new services are being invented which were not even possible some years ago. As new devices, applications and services emerge, also the number of mobile users is increasing in a rapid manner. Mobile broadband networks like UMTS, EDGE or Wireless LAN make it possible to reach a large group of users who gain access with their personal mobile devices, equipped with multimedia and data capabilities. Due to this development, new interesting possibilities arise for many areas. One of these areas is the tourism sector, which is being referred to in this thesis. The so-called m-tourism (mobile tourism) is an emerging field with an enormous marketing potential, as described in Chapter 2. Recent hardware inventions and developments are greatly pushing the market share. Companies are offering tailored products filling the needs of their customers. Personalization of services becomes a popular trend in this sector. But what do users think about such a mobile tourism service? Do they feel the service has added benefits, compared to traditional media and Web-based services? Are those products really user friendly? What would be the crucial applications and qualities that make the big difference ? A range of usability issues concerning mobile services is being discussed in the science community; are there already viable, good solutions? With the recent hype of so-called location based services, the consumer keeps calling for more usable products, featuring more intuitive interfaces. Others may fear being overwhelmed with features. Especially for the senior users, a relatively big target group for most mobile applications, these products often remain a mystery. Usability has been and should always remain a key element for quality software and successful applications. In this thesis, several applications are described, some of their user interfaces are analyzed and major flaws discovered. Furthermore, a corresponding prototype user interface is introduced with a specific analysis of each development step, taken from the book The Usability Engineering Lifecycle by Deborah J. Mayhew. Once prototypical realisations are available, users can validate the implemented approaches and evaluate concepts and realization details from their point of view. Such first user experiences are a valuable guidance for further improvements and design decisions. This thesis is structured as follows: Chapter 2 gives an overview over location based mobile services, some market research and descriptions of several recent projects. After that the terms of usability and user interface design are further illustrated, concluding with a comparison of example visual elements. Chapter 3 is the analysis chapter, in which the designing guidelines by Mayhew are introduced and applied to a sample application. It is divided in user profiles, hardware and platform restrictions and a special chapter about sociability design. In Chapter 4, the design and development phase of the tourist guide prototype is explained and some features are described. The last chapter is about evaluation of the prototype, giving details about the surveys, how the trials have been performed and reports the outcome of the user validation. Chapter 6 describes technical details of the application as well as possible extensions and features which can be realized. Finally, some major conclusions are drawn and an outlook of future developments is given. Inhaltsverzeichnis:Table of Contents: PREFACE 1.INTRODUCTION3 2.CURRENT KNOWLEDGE6 2.1Overview6 2.2Location Based Services6 2.2.1A Definition6 2.2.2Projects Overview9 2.2.3Market Trends and Studies19 2.3About Usability26 2.3.1A Definition26 2.3.2The User Interface33 2.3.3Good and bad Examples42 2.3.4Usability Engineering46 3.ANALYSIS53 3.1Requirements Analysis53 3.1.1User Categories53 3.1.2Contextual Task Analysis58 3.1.3Platform Capabilities and Constraints60 3.1.4General Design Principles62 3.1.5Usability Goals67 4.DESIGNING THE PROTOTYPE69 4.1User Interface Design69 5.EVALUATION77 5.1Usability Testing77 5.2Feedback integration79 6.DEVELOPMENT82 6.1Extensions83 6.2Metropolitan Wireless LAN Networks85 7.CONCLUDING REMARKS88 8.OUTLOOK89 REFERENCES TABLE OF FIGURES APPENDICES Textprobe:Text Sample: Chapter 2.3.2, The User Interface: As the user interface is mainly regarded as the application itself by most users, and its functionality is a reasonable indicator for usability, which in return has strong effects on the acceptance of a project, the most obvious resulting thought might then come into a designer s mind: I shall make my program look nice and pretty! But before that, one has to take a look at various GUIs and compare them. The common appearance of desktop operating systems has not changed much up to now. But here the focal point is on mobile applications, which offer a richer diversity of interface design due to the relatively large scale of different devices. To get started with GUI design, one might eventually think of those impressive interfaces shown in movies. Whenever a computer system is visible in several action and science fiction movies, their graphical user interfaces are surprisingly different from ordinary systems like Windows. As a matter of fact, any show in which the production or graphic designers envisage how they wish a computer program (or even the operating system) should work for the purpose of visual excitement and narration rather than functionality, could be taken as an inspiration for the development of more usable interfaces. When showing the screen of a computer (or yet another electronic device with a screen, which is important for the plot of the movie), the audience should quickly perceive the meaning of what is happening. If e.g. a file is being decrypted from a hard disk, the process shown in Windows with WinRAR application would be quite boring and even more important not easy to understand by a number of viewers who are not at all familiar with computers and software. Therefore, these systems often feature lots of special effects to create a richer visual experience: extra large fonts and full-screen message boxes, like warnings, error messages, countdowns being acknowledges by a female computer voice et cetera. To highlight their specific meaning, items are often blinking or drawn in colorful and three-dimensional views. Whereas such a GUI would certainly not be suitable for everyday office applications and power users, this might as well be an inspiration for creating mobile applications. Especially if they were designed for children or senior customers. As most PDAs or smartphones have relatively small displays, why not make use of fullscreen graphics and messages instead of tiny overlapping windows. The TomTom Navigator is a recent application which features such an interface approach; see the navigation systems overview for more details. In his book User Interface Tuning , Joachim Machate describes some interesting user interface studies which are based on computer games, profiting from their specific kind of gameplay design. For example, the main screen from World of Starcraft has been adopted into the user interface for a control software of a nuclear power plant. This is a very creative approach in designing complex user interfaces for special software applications, where failures caused by the user should be avoided in beforehand. But the problem of this game design approach is the sometimes rather complex or hard-to-guess control over certain functions, as the user or the player often has to think, to try out, to play around with lots of buttons, icons and widgets. As this behaviour might be suitable for computer games, it will not be the optimal way to design a user interface for mobile applications.This is a very creative approach in designing complex user interfaces for special software applications, where failures caused by the user should be avoided in beforehand.

Title:Usability Design for Location Based Mobile Services in Wireless Metropolitan Networks
Author: Etienne Samii - 2007-11-11

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