Mobile Work Efficiency: Balancing Between Benefits, Costs and Sacrifices

Mobile Work Efficiency: Balancing Between Benefits, Costs and Sacrifices

Heli Väätäjä (Tampere University of Technology, Finland)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/jmhci.2012040106
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Smartphones can be characterized as multipurpose mobile devices, or as pocket-sized mobile computers and multimedia devices. In the fieldwork of mobile journalists in news reporting, the efficiency of work could potentially be enhanced with smartphones. Smartphones equipped with mobile services and applications support various work tasks from preparing for the reporting to capturing and submitting or publishing the story or news material directly from the field. Based on ten studies on mobile news making the author discusses smartphones as enablers and characteristics that may constrain the usage and decrease the perceived work efficiency. The identified benefits of smartphones for mobile journalists are categorized as 1) temporal, 2) location, 3) convenience, 4) satisfaction, 5) informational, 6) communicational, 7) work process, and 8) monetary benefits. The costs and sacrifices are related to the ergonomics of working and lower level of working comfort, a lower perceived quality of the created news material and reporting, a feeling of loss of control over the capturing, and changes in the roles and responsibilities, for example. Balance between benefits, costs, and sacrifices of using smartphones in mobile news making seems to depend on the situation at hand as well as on the goals and objectives of news reporting.
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Nowadays, the manufacturers of consumer products more and more try to meet the expectations of their customers. Customizing products and services is among the most critical means for the majority of industrial companies to deliver true customer value and achieve superior competitive advantages in the future (Hvam et al., 2008). The industry provides an increasing number of different variations of products, trying to win an extra piece of the market share by addressing a larger number of interested parties. In the last ten years, a change from mass manufacturing to mass customization of products has taken place (Hvam et al., 2008). Many companies for example customize their products to special public events like the soccer world cup and adapt for example the design, size or color of a product to these events. But in addition, companies also want to give the customers more and more the opportunities to customize a product to match their personal needs. The customizable products range from computers, automobiles, and bicycles to shoes, cosmetics and shirts. The manufacturers normally offer the customers the possibility to customize their products online on a website and then manufacture it according to the customer’s specifications to improve customer satisfaction. For example, there exist several online configuration interfaces with which customers can customize products, e.g. standard sports shoes in terms of color and texture for an additional fee ( as can be seen in Figure 1. As an example for the acceptance of online configuration interfaces, the online-shop - where customers can order cereals with customized ingredients and taste - achieved a volume of sales in its first year of over one million Euros (Heinemann et al., 2010). This indicates that a huge market for customization services exists.

Figure 1.

Approaches for product customization: Customizing shoes with the NikeID online platform (upper left), customizing soap with a static AR interface (Gehring et al., 2010) (upper right), customizing shirts with a virtual mirror (Bichlmeier et al., 2009) (lower left) and customizing mobile phones on a Microsoft Surface (lower right)


The drawback of all these web-based services is that the client only gets a virtual version of the product. Indeed most of the services allow a 360° view of the final product but this is in most cases neither easy nor natural. Besides this shortcoming, the products are not directly available, the purchaser has to wait until it gets assembled and delivered.

In this paper we investigate human factors when allowing costumers to customize the products directly at the POS. In doing so we believe that the adjustments to the products become a tangible experience, like deciding which product should be taken out of the shelf and put into the shopping cart. Our mobile prototypes enable the user to get direct feedback about the look and feel of customized products.

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