The distinction between “work” technology and personal technology is increasingly blurred as technological devices become more mobile, functional and popular. Today’s employees often use the same smart phone for both business and personal use, and a notebook computer can easily be used at the office, on the road or at home.
Developers who understand the specific actions or tasks that individuals will perform as they interact with the product – and the physical locations in which they do so – will have a leg up on those who see the device only in a workplace context. While a traditional PC is fixed on tabletop, a cell phone or a new tablet PC like the iPad can be used almost anywhere. In the span of a week, a mobile device could be used in a taxi, on a plane, on a sailboat and at the grocery store.
To truly understand the personal and contextual use of a mobile device, you need to observe your users at work and at play. Field research can uncover behaviour in context and reveal the reasons why – and how – they use the mobile device as well as the applications. Through user profiles and usage scenarios, you can form the necessary perspectives to create a compelling mobile user experience – one that satisfies both the work and personal goals of your users.
The mobile space is competitive, and a one-size-fits-all application or interface can quickly be rejected if a more flexible (or more tailored) alternative can be found.Armed with user knowledge, you will better understand what behaviour makes your customers buy, use and upgrade their mobile products.