This last sunday, I participated in the Mobile UX Research workshop, part of CHI2009. The workshop was a good hands-on opportunity to share issues we fight with when conducting research with mobile technology. Four themes emerged:
Theme 1: Methods for harnessing the messy mobile reality e.g. simulating mobile conditions in and out of the lab; passively collecting data, e.g. on disruptions and context during use
Theme 2: Tools and methods that combine multiple kinds of data, to understand the bigger picture e.g. combining diary studies with context logging; understanding flow between mobile and non-mobile communication channels; tools that bring different data into one dashboard/ representation of ‘what happened’
Theme 3: Selecting participants and devices e.g. recruiting social/spatial groups of people; when/how to employ participants’ own devices vs. provided devices
Theme 4: Strategies for getting into the mobile future It’s often been said that we are currently witnessing in mobile what happened in the 1980’s for the personal computer: technological advances are enabling new interaction paradigms and entirely new categories of use.
I contributed with a paper summarizing methodology for research on mobile technology, particularly focussing on an extension of the Experience Sampling Method. Here is a short abstract:
This paper reviews research methods used to understand the user experience of mobile technology. The paper presents an improvement of the Experience Sampling Method and case studies supporting its design. The paper concludes with an agenda of future work for improving research in this field.