Designing to support communication on the move

A comment on: Designing to support communication on the move

A new ethnographic study by Jacqueline Brody about blue-collar mobile communication needs (this one from 2003; prev was from 2001).

She points out that there is no definitive definition of ‘mobile work’ and offers a list of example instances: “working at multiple (but stationary) locations, walking around a central location, travelling between locations, working in hotel rooms, on moving vehicles, and in remote meeting rooms.”

This was a 2-page report and its findings are fairly general:

  • Information arriving in one medium tends to force the interaction to remain in that medium, because it’s so hard to switch. Mobile tools should make this easier.
  • Mobile workers need to prevent interruptions while reassuring employers that they are “on the job”
  • Current tech limits the extent to which mobile workers can tap into shared resources like knowledge bases.
  • Current tech depends too much on having a flat work surface available (when using a laptop) or a free hand (when using a cellphone, PDA, or laptop)
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