Using the Wii Remote for Mobile Device Application Testing: A Proof-of-Concept

Using the Wii Remote for Mobile Device Application Testing: A Proof-of-Concept

Mark Bruce Freeman (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJHCR.2015010103


There has been a dramatic shift in the interaction methods of mobile devices over the past decade. From devices simply being able to make phone calls to being able to handle complex tasks traditionally performed on personal computers (PCs); this change has led to new interaction issues that need to be understood during the application development process, particularly as these devices now commonly incorporate a touch-screen as their primary source of input. Currently, the methods of conducting software user experience testing of these devices employs techniques that were developed for PCs, however mobile devices are used within different contexts of use. This research initially reviews the current methods for user experience testing of applications running on mobile devices and then presents, through a proof-of-concept approach, an innovative method for conducting user experience testing employing actual devices.
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With the dramatic increase in the adoption of mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets) methods for developers to conduct user experience testing of applications for these devices has been somewhat of an ad-hoc process. In 2007 Apple Ltd. released the iPhone, a touch-screen smartphone; this device introduced a new focus on small, lightweight and inexpensive portable computers and introduced an influx of touch-screen mobile devices to the market. Previous devices ran variations of Operating Systems (OSs) that were designed for traditional personal computers (PCs), however by Apple using an OS designed specifically for their phones, the industry adapted. Currently smartphones have two major competing OSs: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. These OSs introduced a new class of user interfaces that are not like those of traditional PCs, with support for touch-screens, movement from traditional Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to Natural User Interfaces (NUIs) has occurred. NUIs have been also popularized in the gaming industry with the introduction of the Nintendo Wii Remote, Sony Move and Microsoft Kinect. Both of these distinct types of devices (mobile and gaming) offer the user a unique experience beyond the traditional Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointer (WIMP) that they are use to since the creation of the GUI experience based on an office desk from the 1970s.

There are a number of categories of touch-screen devices that could be focused on with this shift to NUIs and their associated new user experience paradigms during application development processes; Tilvawala et al. (2011) categorized these types of devices into three main groups: smartphones, pads (also referred to as tablets), and boards (custom display and interaction devices, typically used in education and workplace settings). The focus of this paper will be on smartphones as these are the most commonly used devices and have the added complexity of being mobile. These devices aim to bring the whole PC experience (and potentially even more) to users whilst they are on the move. Phone manufacturing companies believed that users would be happy doing what they can currently do on PCs on much smaller handheld-devices, because they can move with them, especially for in youth market (Sharp et al. 2006). The success and popularity of both smart phones and tablets demonstrates that users see the benefits in carrying these devices around; with the ability to access their data, utilities and entertainment from their device.

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