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48 December 2003/Vol. 46, No. 12 COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM INTERFACE DESIGN for Mobile Commerce The rapid growth of mobile UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS telephony has provided a foundation for m-commerce, OF M-COMMERCE TO namely, e-commerce activities ENHANCE AND IMPROVE carried out via a mobile THE USER INTERFACE. device, such as a cell phone or PDA [8]. Proponents of m-commerce claim its growth and scale will exceed that of e-commerce. Such increases, however, appear slower than predicted for vari
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  48 December 2003/Vol. 46, No. 12 COMMUNICATIONSOF THE ACM  COMMUNICATIONSOF THE ACM December 2003/Vol. 46, No. 12 49 The rapid growth of mobiletelephony has provided afoundation for m-commerce,namely, e-commerce activitiescarried out via a mobiledevice, such as a cell phoneor PDA [ 8 ] . Proponents of m-commerce claim itsgrowth and scale will exceed that of e-commerce.Such increases, however, appear slower than pre-dicted for various reasons, including delays intechnology standardization, limited mobile Inter-net coverage, and poor service quality. U NDERSTANDING THEUNIQUE CHARACTERISTICSOF M - COMMERCE TOENHANCE AND IMPROVETHE USER INTERFACE . I NTERFACE D ESIGN  for Mobile Commerce B Y Y OUNG E UN L EEAND I ZAK B ENBASAT Technology development is seriously challenged when users are slow toadopt the new technology; therefore,among the many cited reasons for slow growth, we focus here on the consumerperspective. We investigated the dis-tinct characteristics of m-commerce inorder to discover its strengths and vul-nerabilities and are able to offer designprescriptions to enhance the interactiv-ity of the interface, hence encouragingusers to adopt m-commerce.Two characteristics of the mobileInternet and its devices define con-sumer purchase patterns:the mobilesetting and the mobile device con-straints. While consumers enrich theirshopping experience by taking advan-tage of instant Internet access (mobilesetting), current mobile devices alsoconstrain consumers, due to their slow CPUs and limited processing power,  50 December 2003/Vol. 46, No. 12 COMMUNICATIONSOF THE ACM low bandwidth, and awkward input/output devices(mobile device constraints).The mobile setting comprises three aspects: spa-tiality, temporality, and contextuality [4]. Spatiality encompasses the mobility of both users and devicesby referring to the ability of consumers to roam any- where while carrying their mobile devices. Tempo-rality means mobile users can access the Internetinstantly, even while engaged in a peripheral task.Contextuality is concerned with the milieu in whichusers conduct their mobile tasks, such as the degreeof interaction with others. In order to provide task-relevant services, a context-aware application utilizesinformation on consumers’ mobile settings, includ-ing the user’s location and the people and resourcesnearby [11]. The fact that consumers shop in diversecontexts requires special attention [9]. Whileinvolved in a peripheral task (listening for a bus dri-ver to announce the next stop), the consumer’s cog-nitive resources assigned to the mobile transaction(purchasing a concert ticket) are limited. The multi-tasking nature of consumer behavior requiresm-commerce interfaces designed to support users’limited attention.Mobile device con-straints are a function of the mobile setting. Smallenough to be portable, mobile devices employ fewerresources than desktop computers [2]. As mobiletechnology improves, the features of mobile devices will become equivalent to those of desktop comput-ers, except for the screen size. Some mobile devices,such as the Nokia 9290 communicator, have largerscreens, but even these remain much smaller than thesmallest desktop display. Thus, the m-commerceinterface should be developed to compensate for thelimited visual display of the devices. The mobile set-ting and device constraints suggest successful e-com-merce interface design does not necessarily translateto successful m-commerce design. It is thereforeimperative to improve the design elements of m-commerce interfaces to foster consumer adoption. Elements for Effective M-CommerceInterface Design To develop effective m-commerce interfaces, we needa reference framework that informs us on how cus-tomer interfaces are shaped. We chose the seven 7Cs Focal PointInterfaceImplementationFocal PointInterfaceImplementationFocal PointInterfaceImplementationFocal PointInterfaceImplementationFocal PointInterfaceImplementationFocal PointInterfaceImplementationFocal PointInterfaceImplementationContextContentCommunityCustomizationCommunicationConnectionCommerce E-Commerce ã How a Web site is deliveredã Aesthetic and functional look and feelã Color and visual themesã Layout (linking structure, section breakdown, andnavigation tools)ã Performance dimensions (speed, reliability, andusability)ã What a Web site presents to usersã Text, audio, pictures and video that sites containã (a) Offering mix (the mix of product/serviceinformation), (b) appeal mix (the mix of promotional messages), (c) multimedia mix (thechoice of media), and (d) content type (thedegree of time-sensitivity)ã User-to-user communicationã (a) Interactive (chat, instant messaging, messageboards) and (b) non-interactive communication(public member pages)ã The site’s ability to tailor itself or to be tailoredby each userã (a) Personalization (log-in registration,personalized email account), (b) tailoring (basedon past user behavior)ã The dialogue between the sites and their usersã (a) Broadcast (one-way information exchange),(b) interactive (two-way communication), and(c) hybrid (a combination of the two)ã Formal linkages between sitesã Outsourced content, percent of home sitecontent, and pathways of connectionã The shopping tools that support sales of goodsã Shopping cart, security, order tracking anddelivery options Mobile SettingTo support consumers’ limitedattentionMobile Device ConstraintsTo complement the insufficientdisplay of mobile devices ã Linking structure that connects pagesseamlessly but efficiently.ã Menu structured in a shallow rather than adeep hierarchyã Layered sequential process rather than fieldselection processã The adaptive supply of product informationand promotional messages to a user’s settingã Proximate selection method that makesnearby located-objects easier to choose(gas stations, bank accounts)ã Interactive communication by connecting thepeople with similar needsã Connection to shopping companions whoshare interests in commonã Tailoring enhanced by information on users’mobile settingã Proximate selection method that emphasizesthe object of interests, by combining a user’smobile setting (location, time, and resource)with his or her personal interestsã Broadcast messages relevant to aconsumer’s environmentã Targeted advertising suitable at thepoint-of-purchaseã Pathways that present Web sitesrelevant to users’ changing environmentã Adaptive map that shows the informationabout nearby storesã Secure payment method demandingminimal cognitive attentionã Insertion of authentication into mobilephones M-Commerce ã Section breakdown that organizes information inseparate pagesã Summary and keywords that give a whole pictureof information separated over pages.ã Multimedia mix to utilize both visual and audiochannelsã Conversion of visual information to audio formatã Use of non-speech soundã To accelerate interactive informationexchange despite inferior input/output devicesã SMS, and graphics describing products, transferredthrough a user’s phone book ã Filtering unnecessary information, so that a smallscreen contains only information that is highly usefulã Personalized service based on known user profile(content and layout configuration withouta need of log-in registration)ã Alternative methods for interactive communicationthat overcome text typing with awkward inputdevices.ã Customer feedback in multiple-answer ormultimedia formatsã To reduce the probability of feeling lost givenpathways providedã The icon that gives a link to the starting page withone-click of ‘cancel’ buttonã Condensed checkout processã One-click checkout process made available bystoring a consumer’s address, payment method,preferred delivery options The seven designelements of the m-commercecustomer interface.  design elements of the customer interface (7Cs)because they provide a comprehensive framework foranalyzing m-commerce interfaces [10]. According tothe 7Cs, a customer interface in e-commerce is com-posed of: context, content, community, customiza-tion, communication, connection, and commerce(see the table here). In the design of the 7Cs, pre-scriptions for each element need to be considered within the environment brought about by the mobilesetting that increases the user’s cognitive burden andthe mobile device constraints that demand carefuldeliberation on structuring the content appropriateto small screens. To do this, we describe what eachelement connotes in e-commerce, then, how itshould be adapted to accommodate the characteris-tics of m-commerce. Context  captures how Web sites are developed,consisting of functionality and aesthetics [10]. Giventhe mobile setting, the linking structure that con-nects pages seamlessly but efficiently should be pro-vided, so that even distracted consumers can easily navigate through the material. Structuring a menuin a shallow (fewer levels but more choices per level)rather than a deep hierarchy (more levels but fewerchoices per level) is recommended because a deephierarchy increases the cognitive burden by forcingmore choices over more levels [6]. Another alterna-tive is adopting a layered sequential selection processemploying sub-menus linked to the tasks users aremost likely to proceed to. This differs from a fieldselection process requiring users to return to themain menu to move on to the next process [9].Insufficient display space requires partitioning infor-mation into separate pages, thus making the issue of section breakdown important. Users must scroll upand down more often to read the separate pages andthe resulting increase in their navigation activity sig-nificantly lowers their performance [3]. If a page isprovided containing a brief summary with key con-tent, users can better understand a body of informa-tion fragmented over separate pages [2]. Content  focuses on what a site presents, compris-ing the offering, appeal, multimedia mix, and con-tent type [10]. The mix of product information(offering mix) or promotional messages (appeal mix)can be adapted according to consumers’ purchaseenvironment by virtue of context-aware applica-tions. The proximate selection method makes thenearby located-objects emphasized or easier tochoose [11]. Such located-objects include a non-physical service routinely accessed from particularlocations (such as bank accounts) or the set of placesusers want to know about (gas stations or restau-rants, for example) [11]. Multimedia mix is recom-mended to overcome limitations due to the lack of output screens. By converting some part of contentinto audio format, the output space can be saved [7].Non-speech sound is also advised, given its lan-guage-independent and fast nature [1]. Community  concerns interaction between users,including interactive and non-interactive communi-cation. Shared information regarding mobile settingenhances interactive communication between users:they can connect to other users who reside nearby, orto those who have useful knowledge about products.Since consumers sometimes feel more satisfied whenshopping with friends, interactive communicationenabling opinion exchange about products is benefi-cial. Such capability can be realized with informa-tion exchange methods available on a small screen(for example, Short Messaging Service (SMS) orgraphics describing products transferred through auser’s contact list). Customization refers to a site’s ability to tailoritself (tailoring) or to be tailored by users (personal-ization) [10]. Information on a user’s mobile setting COMMUNICATIONSOF THE ACM December 2003/Vol. 46, No. 12 51 O URPRIMARY  motivation has been a desire to reduce consumer reluctance in adopting m-commerce. We quickly realized one inhibitor is theintimidating existing m-commerce interface developed on the foundation of e-commerce designs.
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