Experimental Research Approaches for Mobile UX in Emerging Markets

Experimental Research Approaches for Mobile UX in Emerging Markets

Dhaval Joshi (Nokia Research Center, Shenzhen, China/Bangalore, India) and Raj Rath (Symantec Corporation, India)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4446-5.ch007
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Mobile devices and services have changed the way people interact around the world, especially in the resource-constrained parts of developing countries. A growing number of professionals, students, and organizations show interest in understanding the user population in these regions to create solutions that address their needs. In this chapter, the authors aim to share and discuss their experiences and experiments designed to understand these user needs by using a more locally relevant and playful approach. The primary objective is to sensitize the readers about various challenges that a researcher working in this domain might face while trying to gather and understand the user behavior and their responses; and to try to explore tailor-made methods to overcome those challenges while undertaking studies in these regions. The authors’ intent is to benefit the entire fraternity by sharing these experiences, and making them aware of the possible problems in incorporating traditional research methods in developing nations.
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Tools And Methods

There is a lot of material available today that deals with various approaches and strategies to carry out both on-field and off-field research work such as compilations of “Design Research in Information Systems” (Vaishnavi & Kuechler, 2004); “Handbook of Qualitative Research” compiled by Norman K. and Lincoln (1994); “Investigating the Research Approaches for Examining Technology Adoption Issues” authored by Choudrie and Dwivedi (2005). A review of the papers published during 1993-1998, in two leading American journals and four European Journals (MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research, European Journal of IS, Information Systems Journal, Accounting, Management and IT, and Journal of Information Technology), was carried out by Mingers (2001; 2003) and this review presented different approaches such as participant observation, grounded theory, and “Soft Systems Methodology”. However, these methodologies were rarely used while majority of these papers mentioned or pointed to the use of surveys, interviews, experiments, and empirical research as widely used research approaches (Mingers, 2001; 2003). User-centered studies in emerging markets required the consideration of specific circumstances and techniques. During the past five years, we participated and led a number of on-field studies in India and China, but not all of them were equally successful. In fact each study needed a fresh perspective depending on the target users, their circumstances and the resources available to the researcher. This chapter tries to share some practical experiences from these studies.

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