Revolutionary and evolutionary technology design processes in location-based interactions

FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Adams, Anne (2015). Revolutionary and evolutionary technology design processes in location-based interactions. International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, 7(1) pp. 59–78.



Development and deployment of location based systems is a key consideration in the design of new mobile technologies. Critical to the design process is to understand and manage the expectations of stakeholders (including funders, research partners and end users) for these systems. In particular, the way in which expectations impact upon technology development choices between small-scale, 'high tech' innovations or larger scalable solutions. This paper describes the differences in a revolutionary design process (for 'high tech' prototypes or catwalk technologies) versus an evolutionary design process (for scalable or prêt-à-porter systems), as exemplified in two location-based mobile interaction case studies. One case study exemplifies a revolutionary design process and resultant system, and the other an evolutionary design process and system. The use of these case studies is a clear natural progression from the paper that first described the concept of 'catwalk technologies' (Adams et al, 2013), which itself drew upon research that used mobile devices for outdoor 'in the wild' locations. This paper presents a set list of fifteen heuristic guidelines based upon an analysis of these case studies. These heuristics present characteristics and key differences between the two types of design process. This paper provides a key reference point for researchers, developers and the academic community as a whole, when defining a project rationale for designing and developing technical systems. In addition, we refer to the role of the researcher/research team in terms of guiding and managing stakeholder and research team expectations and how this relates to the planning and deployment of catwalk or prêt-à-porter technologies. Lastly, we state how this research has vital implications for planning and enacting interventions and sequences of interactions with stakeholders and, crucially, in the planning of future research projects.

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