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Designing a usable mobile application for field data collection

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3 Author(s)

It is envisaged that, particularly in African countries under the NEPAD initiative, mobile technology will play a crucial rote in the collection and maintenance of spatial information about the country's infrastructure (i.e. water, electricity, roads, communication networks etc). While much of the underlying technology may already be available, usability of the mobile applications remains a serious concern. This work investigates the usability of a mobile application for field data collection in the utility industry. The purpose of the investigation is to gain better understanding of usability requirements for a mobile field data collection application but more importantly, how to meet these requirements from a usability engineering standpoint. Firstly, we give some background information on mobile computing and its role in field data collection. Secondly, we describe the design and implementation of the field data collection prototype. The analysis of usability requirements is based on a field study of underground utility closure sourcing work employed at a telecommunications utility. A usage-centered design approach is used to design the user interface, which is implemented as a working prototype on a pocket computer. And finally, we discuss the usability testing of the prototype.

Published in:

AFRICON, 2004. 7th AFRICON Conference in Africa  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

15-17 Sept. 2004