Mobile methods : eliciting user needs for future mobile products
The research reported in this thesis had two aims. To investigate how the variability and complexity of the mobile context of use should be addressed when capturing user needs for mobile products and to explore the role of indirect methods of data capture as tools for eliciting user needs in a form appropriate for informing the scenario based design of mobile products during the. earliest stages of product development. This research presents a novel scenario-based approach to eliciting and representing user needs in a form suitable for informing the earliest exploratory stages of mobile product design. Within this approach scenarios are used to provide snapshots of actual or envisaged product use that can be used to find a starting point for design when there is no clearly defined focus for innovation. Scenarios are organized into sets using scenario tables to structure consideration of key variables within the mobile context of use. These key variables are identified as: mobility, emotion, social relationship and communication purpose. Three user studies were conducted using UK undergraduate students as the study population. Study One explored use of schematic representations ('maps') of each participant's social communications and mobility as tools for eliciting user needs, both in relation to existing mobile product use and in relation to projected use of future mobile product concepts. Study Two used a diary study method to explore existing mobile communications use. Ways of structuring consideration of the mobile context of use were explored and the effectiveness of the diary as a tool for eliciting user needs and for scenario generation was assessed. Study Three extended the diary study approach to include consideration ofthe emotional context of product use and to include pictorial feedback of diary entries to study participants. These personal representations of product use were used to further explore user needs and to prompt participants to generate narratives describing motivations for product use suitable for presentation in scenario form.