|Abstract or Summary
- The use of mobile bar code scanners is expanding to markets beyond popular
manufacturing uses, such as healthcare, environmental testing and professional
services. The successful interaction of users with mobile bar code scanners is of great
importance from a business and technology perspective as well as from the user
standpoint. Interaction problems associated with these devices may cause errors in
data collection and affect job performance due to frustration, resulting in a potential
impact on internal costs.
The primary objective of this research was to develop design guidelines for the
reengineering of keyboard designs for mobile bar code scanners. A secondary
objective was to determine the effectiveness of current bar code scanner designs and
how they can be related to other mobile technologies to develop a link across research
areas. To accomplish these objectives, three different mobile bar code scanner
keyboard designs were investigated: multiple-alphabetical, single-alphabetical and
single split-Qwerty. A total of 42 subjects (18 females and 24 males) were recruited to
participate in the experiment that was conducted to validate the research hypotheses.
Time and accuracy data were recorded during the experiment and workload/subjective
questionnaires were given to each participant following interaction with the different
mobile bar code scanners.
The following conclusions were reached based on the experimental results and
are considered the major contributions of this research. First, an alphabetically laid
out keyboard with multiple keys results in more time to find a character, a higher
percentage of time spent typing incorrect lines, and a higher error rate than an
alphabetically laid out keyboard with single keys. Perceived workload was also higher
for a keyboard with multiple keys versus one with single keys. Second, no significant
differences were found in the time to find a character, the percentage of time spent
typing incorrect lines, and the error rate between keyboards with single keys, whether
they are laid out alphabetically or in a split-Qwerty design. Finally, training a user on
how to use a specific mobile bar code scanner keyboard layout often results in higher
character rates, less time spent typing incorrect lines, and a lower error rate.