In today’s mobile society, the current and future generation of “mobile” devices (i.e. smartphones, tablets, “phablets,” special purpose devices, etc.) and the applications that can be hosted on them provide a significant opportunity to improve the way we work. This is especially true for those workers whose job involves traveling during the day to work directly with customers “in the field.” In this post, I’ll share some recent experiences we’ve had in working with mobile field workers as part of an analysis effort to define requirements for a tablet-based application.
The specific approach we used for this project was to “follow” or “shadow” the workers as they performed their activities and collect observations about:
- The tasks they performed,
- The devices and applications they used to support those tasks, and
- The types of information and work products (forms, documents, etc.) they either collected or produced in course of performing the tasks.
We worked with both staff personnel and supervisor personnel, and we looked at both scenarios where customers would come into a field office and scenarios where the field staff would meet customers at a field location directly. We then followed the observation sessions with one-on-one interviews to review the observations and ask more specific questions.
Based on our experiences, we identified what we would consider to be some key recommendations for business analysts, product managers, or others seeking to elicit requirements for mobile worker applications. Read More…