Pedro Hernandez – Connie Huanca
User study of mobile applications for text messaging.

Abstract

Interaction between mobile devices and people has become richer with the upcoming use of smartphones.  These devices are designed to offer the user a more engaged user experience than offered by the standard feature phone. In order to fully benefit from all the technical features on these smart devices, the design process of mobile applications has to be centered to the user’s needs.  Feedback from the user is vital in this process and has to be exploited in an iterative manner during the design process.

The purpose of this thesis is to study and identify factors that affect the user experience of mobile devices for text messaging. In order to do this we evaluated interfaces belonging to two mobile applications for sending text messages via the Internet.  We refer to the definition of satisfaction defined in the standard of usability published by the International Standardization Organization ISO 9214-11, 1998.  Out of the standard definition we identified six measurable parameters (experienced control, ease to understand, appealing and pleasing use, fulfillment of purpose, predictability and experienced efficiency). User tests are carried out using a method called ”think aloud”, followed by a series of short interviews.  

The results from this study show that the design of mobile applications for text messaging has yet to be improved.  Feedback via the interface has to be clearer in order to give the user more control over the application.  Since the context in which mobile devices varies quickly over time, the interface has to support each activity, such as in our case sending messages and finding information of contacts, in an efficient way. The appearance of the interface has to be a complement of the functionality of the application.  

The conclusions and results of this study have been summarized in form of a recommendation for the design of interfaces for text messaging applications.