Title: Designing mobile interfaces using activity theory

Authors: Lorna Uden, Petri Helo

Addresses: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Technology, Staffordshire University, The Octagon, Beaconside, Stafford ST18 0AD, UK. ' University of Vaasa, Logistics Systems Research Group, FIN-65101 Vaasa, Finland

Abstract: Mobile interfaces should be able to adapt to the context in which they are used. It is important to consider context when designing usable mobile applications. Context confusions can be avoided by recognising and considering situations where there are likely to be problems. The traditional approach to designing interfaces has been increasingly criticised because of the gaps between research results and practical design, especially concerning requirements. Activity theory incorporates the notions of intentionality, history, mediation, motivation, understanding, culture and community into design. In particular, it provides a framework in which the critical issue of context can be taken into account. This paper describes the use of activity theory for the design of a mobile interface for a diet advisory application for hospital staff.

Keywords: activity theory; user interface; context; mobile interfaces; interface design; mobile communications; dietary advice; hospital staff; healthcare; diets.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2008.019325

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2008 Vol.6 No.5, pp.616 - 632

Published online: 07 Jul 2008 *

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