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User Requirements of Mobile Information Systems – Exploration and Practical Consequences Judith Gebauer 7 th Symposium on Understanding Complex Systems May 14, 2007. Research Objectives. Understand the requirements of IS support for mobile professionals

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User Requirements ofMobile Information Systems – Exploration and Practical ConsequencesJudith Gebauer7th Symposium on Understanding Complex SystemsMay 14, 2007

research objectives
  • Understand the requirements of IS support for mobile professionals
  • Understand the impacts and consequences of mobile IS use
  • Apply and extend IS theories to mobile use contexts

© 2007, Gebauer.

theory of task technology fit
Theory of Task-Technology Fit
  • Tool to determine whether information systems meet user needs (Goodhue and Thompson 1995)
  • Demonstrated to have a positive impact on IS effectiveness (use, performance)
    • Management support (Goodhue and Thompson 1995)
    • Group support (Zigurs and Buckland 1998)
  • Few general guidelines of how to operationalize fit for specific combinations of task and technology

© 2007, Gebauer.

technology acceptance model
Technology Acceptance Model
  • Discusses the antecedents of users’ intention to use (and actual use of) information technology (Davis 1989, Davis, Bagozzi, and Warshaw 1989)
  • Main findings: User-perceived usefulness (expected performance effect) and ease of use (expected effort) most important factors
  • Dominant factor: Usefulness, with Ease of Use working “through” Usefulness, especially for more experienced users.

© 2007, Gebauer.

usability research
Usability Research
  • Mobile information systems are still under development and have not reached a level of maturity similar to established non-mobile IS
  • Shortcomings include tedious setup procedures, complex content presentation and navigation structures, and lack of user guidance, bandwidth and robustness
  • Dynamic changes of technology as progress is being made
  • Unclear how the overall lack of maturity and dynamic change impact findings of TAM and TTF

© 2007, Gebauer.

information gathering at the source content analysis of user reviews
Information Gathering at the Source – Content Analysis of User Reviews
  • Exploratory, inductive approach
  • Content-analysis of online user reviews (
    • Smart cell phone (Motorola Razr V3c)
    • PDA 1 (RIM Blackberry 8700c)
    • PDA 2 (Palm Treo 650)
    • Ultralight laptop (Dell X1)
  • Identification of issues that are important to users and perceived performance of devices re: issues
  • Three coders; frequent interactions and iterations over several months

© 2007, Gebauer.

cnet reviews example
CNET-Reviews (Example)

© 2007, Gebauer.

coding results
Coding Results

144 reviews analyzed (started with “most useful”, as rated by other readers)

Inter-rater reliability: correlations .761 to .844, p <.001 (lower if classification included)

Identified six types of requirements:


Non-functional (NF) features related to portability and ubiquity

NF features related to operation and performance

NF features related to usability and appearance

NF features related to network connectivity

© 2007, Gebauer.

  • Devices differ with respect to the issues that users indicate to be important, and performance (fit)
  • Technology performance (ease of use) and use context are relevant
  • Fit as three-way match between task, technology, and use context is not straightforward
  • Four out of five factors found to be predictors of overall evaluation
  • Results less abstract than earlier studies
  • Can content analysis of user reviews be automated? Difficult…

© 2007, Gebauer.

what we found and what we didn t find
What We Found and What We didn’t Find
  • Reviewers like to talk about:
    • Satisfaction with device performance regarding various functional and non-functional requirements (fit)
    • Overall satisfaction with device
    • Issues of temporary relevance (e.g., buggy product release, customer service issues), and surprises (e.g., bright backlight)
    • Issues that pertain to principles and opinions (e.g., favored manufacturer or carrier)
  • Reviewers don’t talk much about:
    • Tasks to be performed with mobile devices
    • Mobility pattern
    • Importance of various functional and non-functional requirements
    • Actual use of devices
    • Impacts of use on performance

© 2007, Gebauer.

follow up survey
Follow-up Survey
  • Objectives
    • Role of user tasks and mobility
    • Determine fit of importance and performance
    • Determine impact of fit on overall evaluation
  • Method
    • Web-based survey of mobile professionals using various devices, e.g., smart phones and laptop computers
    • Data collection during 8 days in the fall of 2006 in cooperation with CNET; random intercept technique
    • 811 surveys completed; 216 usable, complete responses used for analysis
    • Analysis with structural equation modeling (PLS)

© 2007, Gebauer.


Technology-Requirements (Importance)

Functional, Non-Functional(Portability, Operation, Usability, Network)

Task Difficulty Non-routineness

Interdependence Time-criticality

H1 (+)

H2 (+)

Fit(=Difference btw. Importance and Performance)

Functional, Non-Functional(Portability, Operation, Usability, Network)

H3 (+)


User Mobility

(=non-standard use context)

H4 (+)

H5 (+)


Functional, Non-Functional(Portability, Operation, Usability, Network)

Estimated relationship

Computed relationship

© 2007, Gebauer.

sem testing part 1
SEM Testing, Part 1


Imp. Functionality



Time criticality


Task difficulty





Imp. Portability








Imp. Usability





Interdep *Mobility



Imp. Network



Time crit *Mobility



Task diff * Mob




Non-rout *Mobility

Imp. Performance

© 2007, Gebauer.


* p<.05, ** p<.01, *** p<.001

sem testing part 2
SEM Testing, Part 2

© 2007, Gebauer.

* p<.05, ** p<.01, *** p<.001


© 2007, Gebauer.

  • Task difficulty associated with functional requirements (importance) – in line with TTF and TAM propositions
  • Mixed results for the expected associations between fit of requirements and overall evaluation (general, over, under fit)
  • Role of Mobility?
    • Mobility did not show any significant explanatory power (directly or as a moderator) in the current model
    • However, NF feature related to portability showed best statistical significance in both parts of the model
    • In a separate analysis, multi-group comparison of high- and low mobility users showed substantially different patterns for the link between task-difficulty and importance

© 2007, Gebauer.

next steps
Next Steps

Success Factors and Impacts of Mobile IS

  • Task changes in mobile environments?
  • Expectations of mobile professionals regarding technology?
  • Impacts on individual and group performance?

Application to Emergency Response Information Systems

  • Development of a multi-use platform for innovative collaboration between responders
  • Analysis of the dynamics of fractal communication networks, helping to ensure reliability and stability of operations
  • Analysis of the tasks and requirements of emergency responders to be reflected on the platform, as well as for measuration and for subsequent adjustments in response to system usage and performance

© 2007, Gebauer.

for questions and full paper access
For Questions and Full Paper-Access

Thank You!

© 2007, Gebauer.