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In this paper, we describe the prototype and usability test of a near field communication (NFC)-based Virtual Ticketing application, developed via the collaboration between two research labs of Sapienza University of Rome: RFID Lab and LUA (Accessibility and Usability Lab). We conceived a usable application to allow the user to buy tickets for public transportation with a mobile phone, considering its increasing importance in the user life. The application, named NFCTicketing, was developed following a user-centered approach, so obtaining a balance between the information reduction required by the user and the increase of application flexibility. In this way, the NFCTicketing service will not only be less complex and therefore less expensive (keeping low both the cost of development and implementation) but will also be more usable for a broad community of users. The NFCTicketing application combines latest-generation technologies (such as NFC) with well-known technologies such as short message service (SMS). All the architectural components of the application are fully described, detailing both software and hardware features and also the relative communication scheme. Finally, we focus the attention on usability studies on the application, fully reporting the userspsila responses to the usability test. On the basis of the userspsila responses, opinion and expectations, we detected the applicationpsilas weak spots and outlined possible modifications for a final release.
Date of Conference: 24-24 Feb. 2009