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A study of application and device effects between a WAP phone and a palm PDA

A study of application and device effects between a WAP phone and a palm PDA
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  See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: A Study of Application and Device EffectsBetween a WAP Phone and a Palm PDA Conference Paper  · September 2004 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-28637-0_17 · Source: DBLP CITATIONS 2 READS 30 2 authors:Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects: Context Informed Intelligent Information Infrastructures for Better Situational Awareness   ViewprojectJiraporn Buranatrived 2   PUBLICATIONS   11   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Paul VickersNorthumbria University 81   PUBLICATIONS   462   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE All content following this page was uploaded by Paul Vickers on 03 January 2017. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file. All in-text references underlined in blue are added to the srcinal documentand are linked to publications on ResearchGate, letting you access and read them immediately.  A Study of Application and Device Effects Between a WAP Phone and a Palm PDA Jiraporn Buranatrived and Paul Vickers Northumbria University, School of Informatics, Pandon Building, Camden Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1XE, UK Abstract . Technologies like Java 2 Micro Edition and Microsoft’s .NET framework allow applications to be developed and deployed across a range of mobile devices without having to significantly change the source code. However, mobile devices have very different interfaces and capabilities and it is not clear whether these generic deployment technologies adversely affect the usability of applications by ignoring individual device characteristics. This paper describes an experiment that aimed to see whether users of two applications written with J2ME and deployed on two devices experienced any differences in the usage of the applications on the different devices. Our findings indicate that usability can be maintained through multi-platform deployment. but that there are may also be usability advantages if the specific interaction paradigms of different mobile platforms are taken into account. This would require means of separating not just the interface from the functionality, but also the interface functionality from the interface data. 1   Introduction Mobile computing is a fast-growing industry. Mobile devices are starting to replace older forms of communication and computation and developers are faced with new issues that need to be addressed throughout the development process [1]. Compared with desktop computers they have a number of substantial limitations (mainly associated with their memory, processing power, and their interfaces which are typically less sophisticated and relatively small). The emergence of wireless devices and mobile networks has opened up new business opportunities as e-commerce now extends into the mobile realm to become m-commerce (mobile commerce). To exploit the technical opportunities that mobile computing offers (such as instant connectivity, localization and the capability to receive information and conduct transactions anywhere, at any time, in a real-time environment) companies must develop effective and efficient applications with friendly and usable interfaces. Designing for mobility, a dispersed and widespread population, limited input and output capabilities, and supporting increased multitasking with more interruptions is a challenge that is coming to the fore [2]. Success will be affected by finding the right mix of applications that fit within constraints of limited screen size, memory, and processing  power. Good interface design requires more than just squeezing information into a little screen. There are several factors involved in building a successful m-commerce venture including security, networking technologies, and usability. In fact, as Table 1 shows, poor usability is rated second only to fraud concerns as an obstacle to consumer uptake of m-commerce. Table 1. Obstacles to Consumer Adoption of m-Commerce [3] Obstacle Phones PDAs Credit card security concerns 52% 47% Fear of 'klunky' user experience 35% 31% Don't understand how it would work 16% 16% Other 11% 13% Never heard of it before 10% 12% Success depends on finding the right mix of applications that fit within the constraints such as limited screen size, memory, and processing power. In the case of interface design, it requires more than just squeezing information into a tight little GUI. Designing a user interface that is successful within the constraints of mobile devices is, therefore, an interesting challenge. Usability can be viewed as having three broad dimensions: efficiency, effectiveness, and user satisfaction. Good usability is critical to attract and retain users but current mobile devices, with their small keyboards and displays pose interesting challenges to the mobile-interface designer. M-commerce applications can be developed in various ways. A range of software and technologies are available to support this type of application, the two main ones today being Microsoft’s .NET framework and Java (in form of J2ME—the Java 2 Micro Edition). There are different types of mobile device capable of supporting m-commerce, such as mobile phones and pocket computers or personal digital assistants (PDA). Each device (even within its own class) has its own unique user interface. This means there are likely to be different usability issues for each application running across different devices. By using a technology like J2ME the same functionality can be deployed across multiple platforms without the need for code rewrites. However, such an approach would not allow the application to be tailored to suit the individual interface capabilities of particular devices. In the interests of cost and efficiency it would be in developers’ interest to use standardized deployments. Therefore, in an attempt to see whether just such a unified approach can result in applications being successfully deployed on different platforms without significant negative impact on usability we carried out an experiment in which two different types of m-commerce application were deployed on a mobile phone and a Palm OS PDA. J2ME was chosen for the development platform because it is supported by most mobile phones and PDAs. Java technology-based architecture for m-commerce consists of four main tiers: back end tier, middleware tier, web tier, and client tier. The back end (or legacy) tier supports servers and mainframes running databases. The middleware tier is the connection buffer between the back end and web tiers. Enterprise Java Beans™ can be used to implement solutions in this tier. The web tier  is a web server hosting JavaServer™ Pages, servlets, and Java Beans. The client tier is where J2ME is implemented on mobile devices. 2   Multi-platform deployment Chittaro and Dal Cin [4] discovered significant differences in the way navigation and item selection techniques affect interaction on a single mobile phone platform. Because there are several types of mobile device capable of supporting m-commerce, each with its own user interface, there will be different usability issues for an application running on different devices. Thus, we wished to see if we could implement common applications on different devices and yet maintain a broadly equivalent user experience. Two prototype applications were built using J2ME: one to simulate mobile stock broking and the other to simulate the on-line purchasing of cinema tickets. J2ME allows applications to be compiled for both a Palm OS computer and a mobile phone without changing any of the code. There are obvious advantages to being able to write an application once and deploy it across different platforms. However, the benefits of this approach would be lessened if the usability of the application varied across the different devices, hence the reason for this study. 2.1   Movie ticket purchasing Chittaro and Dal Cin [4] used a movie ticket purchasing scenario for their work. Movie ticket purchasing is a customer-driven activity in which the user requests information from a server and responds accordingly. We developed a simple prototype system that displays a list of available movie titles, a list of cinemas based on the user’s location and, for a chosen movie and cinema, the list of showing times. Users select their seat position and specify the type and quantity of tickets required (e.g. adult, student, child, etc). Fig. 1. Ticketing application showing the seat selection screen on phone and PDA    2.2   Stock broking Mobile Broking is a mobile financial services application that is commercially important. Financial institutions are using this new service channel because it supports convenience, timeliness, and decision-making. Location-independent, real-time information about share prices and the potential to act upon them is of high value to stock traders. Receiving alerts about price-movements and order executions, checking quotes, buying and selling stocks and other financial instruments are the key functionalities of mobile broking. Whilst stock broking supports the same transaction model as ticket purchasing, it also has a real-time event-driven aspect. Stock prices are served at regular intervals to the mobile device. Price thresholds are set for certain stocks and the device signals an alert when chosen stocks hit these thresholds. The user then decides whether to buy or sell the shares. The broking application has a number of screens allowing the user to sign in, monitor stock prices, choose stocks to buy and sell, and execute stock transactions. Fig. 2 shows the application running on the phone and the Palm. Fig. 2. Mobile broking 'confirm' screen on phone and Palm   3   Experiment To study the effects on usability of running the two applications on two different platforms an experiment was carried out. The target markets for m-commerce consumer services are teenagers (18 years and under), students (19-25 years old) and young business-people (25-36 years old) [5]. Therefore, to cover two of the three target markets above, sixteen participants (8 male, 8 female) were chosen within the age range of 19-36 from an MSc Computing course. Moreover, this age group is more likely to be familiar with mobile phones, PDAs and mobile commerce applications. The subjects were required to carry out four tasks: one for each application/device pair (see Table 2). At the time of the study there were not sufficient Palms and phones
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