Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Diversified Users' Satisfaction with Advanced Mobile Phone Features

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Mobile phones are widely used all over the world, and with their increasing number of value-added features, they are becoming far more than a mere mobile voice communication device. Rather, they provide a powerful platform for accessing information universally. This paper reports a study which scrutinized users’ preference levels with five new mobile phone design features facilitating universal information access through mobile phones: camera, colour screen, voice-activated dialing, Internet browsing, and wireless connectivity (e.g. Bluetooth, infrared, etc.). The survey study involved college students and investigated the degree to which each of the above features impacts the users’ overall satisfaction and enhances the potential of mobile phones to contribute to different aspects of universal access. Our results show that colour screen, voice-activated dialing, and Internet browsing feature can strongly predict users’ satisfaction level, and their preference levels together account for 22.7% of the variance of the users’ overall satisfaction. Users’ satisfaction levels are significantly different between models with colour screen feature and those without, and models with Internet browsing features and those without. Since mobile phone design needs to accommodate the needs and preferences of diversified user groups, the performed study also investigated the difference in users’ preference levels of the five new features for different ethnic groups, and difference in mobile phone owned by different genders. The result indicates that Asian female users in the U.S. market have higher preference level on colour screen feature than Caucasian female users. Significantly higher percentage of male users own phones with camera, Internet browsing, and wireless connectivity features than female users. The empirical study reported in this paper provides a comprehensive picture of how new design features can enhance the mobile phone as a universal access device, and what impact they have brought about. It can also help manufacturers adopt a universal design perspective in view of the differences in preference levels of users with different ethnicity and genders.

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Universal Access in the Information Society





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