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Usability of a mobile, group communication prototype while rendezvousing

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3 Author(s)
Axup, J. ; Inf. Environments Program, Queensland Univ., Qld. ; Viller, S. ; Bidwell, N.J.

Mobile phones are increasingly being used collaboratively by social networks of users in spite of the fact that they are primarily designed to support single users and one-to-one communication. It is not well understood how services such as group SMS, SMS-based discussion lists and mobile instant messaging (IM) will be used by mobile groups in natural settings. Studying specific instances of common styles of in situ, group interaction may provide a way to see behavior patterns and typical interaction problems. We conducted a study of a mobile, group communication probe used during a rendezvousing activity in an urban environment. Usability problems relating to group usage, phone interface design and context were identified. Several major issues included: multitasking during message composition and reading; speed of text entry; excessive demand on visual attention; and ambiguity of intended recipients. We suggest that existing mobile device designs are overly-focused on individual users to the detriment of usability for mobile groups of users. We provide recommendations for the design of future mobile, group interfaces, used in similar situations to those explored here

Published in:

Collaborative Technologies and Systems, 2005. Proceedings of the 2005 International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

20-20 May 2005