User Requirements of Mobile Information Systems - Exploration and Practical Consequences

Judith Gebauer, Department of Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

As advanced mobile technology becomes more widespread, the impacts on professional environments and on the personal lives of individual users are expected to increase. Devices, such as smart cell phones, pocket computers and laptop computers can free their owners of the need to remain close to a wired information system infrastructure that is provided in a stationary office environment, and provide the opportunity to perform tasks in a wide variety of use contexts. With changes in use context, however, come changes in requirements, such as the need to limit weight and size of a device. In order to achieve success and positive performance impacts, a thorough and systematic understanding about the functional and non-functional technology requirements of mobile professionals is needed. Based on a content analysis of online reviews we identified four characteristics of mobile devices to be significantly related with overall user evaluation, namely functionality, portability, performance, and usability. A subsequent survey of 216 mobile professionals resulted in statistical evidence for the association of task difficulty with user requirements, as well as for the association of fit between technology requirements and user-perceived technology performance with overall evaluation. Portability turned out to be the single most important factor to explain technology requirements and overall evaluation. Our findings have implications for the design and management of mobile information systems.