Posted Live from MEX

Speaker: Tracy Ross, Principal Researcher, Mobile Telecoms, ESRI

Tracey talked about taking a step back to determine what users really want to do in a mobile context. Participative design tools, user mapping, diary studies, ‘experimenter’ immersion and pre/during/post task analysis are a mix of techniques that can be used. Tracey described ten studies at ESRI that used these techniques and provided some insights…

Going Out for the Night

  • Dipping in and out of apps is frustrating
  • Needs differ depending on content (e.g. whether know where they are going?)
  • Service must pass the ‘is it worth the bother’ test

What’s Needed of Mobile Commerce?

  • Cashless/cardless welcome
  • Swapping cash between phones desirable
  • Pointing phone towards need desirable (near field communications needed)

Hidden Secrets on Your Mobile

  • Boys – social and ego based – mainly photos
  • Girls – emotional – photos and text

Link between (casual) Games and Chocolate

  • Girls – simple games, little concentration, likened to chocolate
  • Boys – Competitive

Supporting Group Communications

  • Groups fluid but overlapping
  • Value in sending group comms – but under used
  • Need to support multiple personas


  • Close relationships, infrequent co-presence, low covertness
  • Barriers – image quality, usability, cost
  • Enablers – Being able to manipulate images, access from mobile, common format

Off The Beaten Track Crowd

  • Tension between being contactable and behavioural etiquette
  • Not just location but also where going and where been


  • Need ability to log reminders while travelling
  • Need support services (speech, availability of services) to be able to do this on the move

Mobile workers

  • Importance of organisational context (e.g. time estimates)
  • Up to date centralised information required

Challenging environments

  • Procedural interfaces don’t work (dip in, dip out)
  • Need ability to capture and track

Notes posted live from MEX – More detailed report, including panel discussion, will be available after the event.


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