The emerging dominance of mobile personalisation has resulted in new design challenges related to the impact of usage contexts. There is also ongoing interest in designing for user experience (UX) within HCI (e.g. Roto et al., 2011; Law and Schaik, 2010), and recognition of the role that personalisation plays in increasing UX (e.g. Oulasvirta and Blom, 2008). The specific topic of investigation within this research is large sports events (LSEs). Spectators at LSEs are often overloaded with large amount of information (Sun and May, 2010). In addition, they can lack effective social interaction with fellow spectators at LSEs (Esbjornsson et al., 2006). Large sports events present a number of interesting design challenges. The foremost issue is that the UX at a sports event is primarily derived from the sporting event itself and therefore a mobile device must supplement this experience, rather than distract from it. User outcomes can be influenced by the interaction with a mobile device, but are actually generated by interaction with the wider environment within a stadium. There is a range of supplementary information sources and content available to spectators (e.g. screen-based video replays, information posters, broadcast announcements); personalisation on a mobile device must add value over and above these other sources, and physical constraints within a stadium (e.g. fixed seating) can limit mobility and social and information-based interactions.
The second challenge is that user outcomes need to be measured in more than functional terms, i.e. a broader UX rather than a usability perspective is needed. A third challenge is that it is necessary to understand what the specific personalisation cost/benefit trade-offs are for a spectator at sports events, and the implications for successful design of services. A final challenge is that the nationality and cultural background of spectators is often diverse, and services and the methods used to design those services must explicitly account for this.
The main aim of this article is to study LSEs environments and assess the potential for personalised mobile content to enhance the UX for a spectator. Personalisation of content has been shown to provide a range of benefits to a consumer, including increasing their usability, enhancing social interaction, and producing a more engaging ‘user experience’ (Bonnet, 2001; Oulasvirta and Blom, 2008; Karpinskyj et al., 2014).
A secondary aim of this article is to make a methodological contribution related to the application of Western-derived user-centered design methods with Eastern participants. The user group within these studies was Chinese, and their cultural characteristics raised some interesting issues to do with their involvement within a design and evaluation process.