The producers of Duty Free Companion 1, GG Innovation, failed to deliver a superior product because of three things. One, GG Innovation gathered requirements from the wrong subjects. The application was targeted to assist passenger customers at the departure lounge of the airport. Therefore, the passengers ought to have been the focus group for gathering requirements for the application. Instead, GG Innovation gathered information from a waitress, students and a builder. Secondly, GG Innovation used an ineffective method for requirement gathering. They used focus group rather than using desk research or persona technique. Additionally, they asked the focus group questions on how an already developed application was, other than asking them how it ought to be before developing it. Desk research was more appropriate because it could have provided all the requirements of the app before embarking on its development.
Persona technique is the most suitable requirement elicitation method for this kind of app. The developer must be aware of the characteristics of the target users. Air passengers at the airport are mostly people on business. The app developers should understand that their target users are usually busy and have limited time at their disposal. Therefore, the app should be designed to cater for time rigidity requirements of this class of people. Flight times are normally fixed, and DC-2 must respond to the needs of customers who must catch a flight and at the same time want to buy something in one of the retail shop in the airport. The first process in persona technique is to identify the characteristics of people to use the app. Then, the developer must understand why the target group needs this app. In addition, it is important to know how the behaviors and needs of the target persona vary. Lastly, the frequency of use and the experience of the user must be factored in when developing the app.
DC-1 Usability Problems
Usability is basically the effectiveness, efficiency and user reported satisfaction that normally comes with the use of a certain product. In evaluating the usability of a product, developers must incorporate the views of the user. It is of little importance to say whether a product is usable or not when the user is not consulted. When developing an app, designers normally put into consideration the cost benefit analysis and tend to make one that suits their side of bargain. A good app must also work in tandem with the environment in which it is used. When designing the Duty Free Companion-1 (DC-1), GG Innovation failed to capture the true needs and wants of its users because they used the wrong method in requirement gathering and elicitation. The company also used the wrong target audience for requirement elicitation and requirement gathering. For these reasons, the DC- 1 had the following usability problems.
Problem ID Problem Description Severity Rate Problem Heuristics
1 The main menu is misleading. The first clickable item (shops) hints the user on the availability of shops, only to proceed with mentioning a few restaurants and retail perfumers and sports outlets. The error is very profound because it gives a false perception of the effectiveness of the application, but the application does not meet the expectations of passengers at the departure lounge. With the kind of persona you get at the departure lounge of an international airport, a good app will have a detailed outlay that is equally effective in directing the passengers to the most essential retail outlets like mobile phone shops. The layout of the main menu is also poor. Although the three tabs at the menu (shops, flights and services) are clickable, the layout could have been made more appealing to a first time user by being more detailed, like by using indentation for every item in the main menu, or having a drop-down feature that eliminates the need to click and wait for an item to load. In case the users phone has slow processor speed, applying this feature might help such a user to get a lot of information from the first screen without having to wait for a clickable link to load. H4 Lack of Consistency and standards
2 In one way of the other, retailers at the London airport who were the clients for GG Innovation were secondary users of the application. The main purpose for contracting the company to design this app was to boost their businesses by having more customers know about their location, the services they offer and the details about their operating hours. However, the designer included more junk in the app perhaps to make it appear more detailed. I think that the airport retailers did not want the app to include the barcode scanning feature. Barcode scanning feature means that the retailers had to issue brochures about their businesses for their customers, and the brochures had a barcode accompanying the written information. Scanning the barcode is unnecessary when written instructions are written on the business brochure. This feature therefore makes the app inefficient, given that the customers spend a lot of time on this fancy but unproductive activity. Again, barcode readers do not respond immediately. It means therefore, that customers take a lot of time learning how use the scanner and other might not even know how to. As per how the DC-1 is designed, the barcode scanner connects to the camera, implying that only customers whose mobile phones support camera can use the barcode scanner. Furthermore, barcode scanner limits users to daytime usage, since most cameras do not shoot clearly at night when the ambient light is dull. This problem is frequent, persistent and has a lot of negative impacts to users. For example, a person may decide to the barcode scanner but the scanner will ask the user if they need to lunch the camera. Because the app does not explain why the barcode scanner requires connecting to the camera, novice users and indeed every user without prior experience of barcode scanning may find it hard to go back and close the camera. In other words, besides the feature being not required, its use in the airport environment is complicated. H7H10. Lack of Flexibility and efficiency of use
Insufficient help and documentation
3 The link called gate info takes a user to the flight schedule. In the airport setting, a gate is the same as the departure lounge. The target users of this app are passengers in the departure lounge, and there is absolutely no need to give them information about where they are, given the number of big screen that is displaying the information that the designer wanted it to be displayed in a small mobile phone screen. Perhaps, the designer wanted this feature to inform the passenger of the flight status when they are outside the departure lounge, like when having meals at one of the retail shops in the airport. Then, it would be more appropriate to include the feature as a one-time clickable link at every static page, making access to the feature faster and more convenient when the user is in any setting. Notwithstanding, the flight feature does not guarantee the user an extraordinary experience. Flight schedule keeps on changing as airplanes take off while others land. Therefore, its upon the designer to develop the app in a way that will constantly update the schedule after a given period of time, say 20 minutes. Otherwise, the user should be given an option of refreshing the page to find the new update on the flight schedule. Auto updating the flight schedule will mean that the retail shops must be in constant communication with the airport management to acquire any arising information about the schedule. Given that the retail shops in the airport operate independently from the airport services, this communication might be impossible especially because it will require more capital or labor input. H8 Absent Aesthetics and minimalist design
4 When a user clicks the shops link, they are taken to a restaurants and retail page. In the restaurants link, the user is directed to all the food outlets in the airport listed in the app. To begin with, the restaurants label is misleading. The user does not get the information about restaurants after clicking this link. Instead, they are taken to fast food joints that are listed in the app. Labeling the link as restaurants raises the expectations of the user in the airport especially those whose flights are delayed and would like to a restaurant to spend a day or two in. However, no restaurants are listed after this link, meaning that users might be disappointed in this app. Besides, the fast food retail joints icons listed in the app have no aesthetic value. For example, the first joint listed Oishii has an icon that is not pleasant at all. The designer made remarkable efforts to bring out the notion of a Japanese of Korean food joint, although some people would feel that the icon has a racial connotation. Some icons meant to represent a food joint are not accompanied by the names of the corresponding food joints. This leaves a user with a lot of thinking and guessing to do, meaning that the app has serious usability issues. The font used to label some icons is not appropriate. There are people of different ages in the waiting lounge of an airport that might need to use this app. Very old users or even young users with eyesight problems might find it difficult to read such fonts. The stylish font used by the designer in oishii might make the application decorative for the youthful population but may also pose legibility challenges to older people. H6.
H8App encourages Recall rather than recognition
No visibility of system status
Lack of Aesthetics
5 Every static page of the app has three soft keys: home, back and forward keys. A good app with several intended uses should have a settings button at every page. The most important setting that is supposed to appear on every page includes font adjustment to meet the needs of every person. The settings key also allows the user to perform actions like setting a reminder for the time of a certain flight or placing an order while at any page in app. H3Lack of User control and freedom
6 Retail shops in London airport are located at various points. Some are close to each other while some are isolated. Many passengers in the airport might be there for the very first time. It is therefore important to include a site map for every retail outlet listed in the app. However, DC-1 ignored this requirement and a user might not find the app very useful in a strange setting. H7No Flexibility and efficiency of use
7 Passengers at the departure lounge of an international airport normally carry heavy and numerous luggage, while others have children and old family members accompanying them. Sometimes, its not possible to leave the luggage at the departure lounge to go and look for food or drugs in a pharmacy store. The user might be required to carry along all their luggage or children. The app ought to have a link for the information on every retail shop describing the size, security and space for luggage for users intending to visit the shop. H7No flexibility and efficiency of use
8 In interacting with the app, a user might mistakenly take an action that was not intended like opening the page for a perfume shop while they wanted to view the menu of a certain hotel. DC-1 is made in a way that the user will have to press the back button for twice to get to the second level menu, an...
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