The focus of this study was mobile blue-collar workers like copy repairmen, and how they solve problems using wireless equipment like cellphones and laptops.
The general findings were:
- The tasks most in need of better support are
- scheduling later Fact-To-Face mtgs, which is complicated by the need to find mutually available times and locations, record these decisions while having only one or no hands free, and where the other person may not even be able to talk with you at the moment
- delivering docs to complete an interaction. For example, during a cellphone conversation, the other participant might request that a contract be sent in advance of a mtg; since cellphones generally can’t be used to access or transmit files, the promiser has to remember to send the doc later, perhaps hours later, when he has access to a computer or fax.
- Some companies need to provide phone services to their mobile employees but are so concerned about cell minutes that they opt for phone cards instead of actual phones. Finding a phone is often a hassle, and these phones are often not close enough to the worksite to allow guidance over the phone.
- Mobile workers need a good way of indicating a ‘busy’ status, to prevent interruptions. (The article seems to suggest a software solution, but I’m not sure why taking one’s phone off-hook wouldn’t be sufficient, and more reliable than a new type of software.)
- Workers need a hands-free, out-of-car communication solution.