Understanding context: mobile application development

Understanding context: mobile application development

By | January 13th, 2013
3 Comments on Understanding context: mobile application development

Context usually refers to an understanding of relationships between people,

places and things in the world. In simpler terms, that’s additional

information such as a task at hand to provide the user with information

that more relevant.


														               
							 	 						

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Context is usually derived, and not manually fed into the application by the user. It could be based on the data collected over a period of time such as search queries, or can be instantaneous information such as geo-location. Adding location to search is a perfect example of context. Sensors within mobile devices significantly augment the possibilities with real time data that can be used to derive contextual information.

What’s unique with mobile applications?

The expectations from a mobile application user is slightly different. Users want quick access to information that is relevant and augmented to the current situation (time or location). Developers can use the additional hardware sensors available on the device to understand the environment in which the user is, and adapt the application behaviour automatically to the needs of the user.

Context is usually derived, and not manually fed into the application by the user”

The environment in which mobile applications are used is full of distractions and the attention span of the user is much shorter. Most of the time when people are using mobile applications ,unlike desktop software, are trying to multitask and the task in the real world ( eg driving ) usually takes priority.

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Amrit Sanjeev
Amrit is a co-organiser of Bangalore Android User Group. He currently works at Intuit as a staff engineer for the Mobile team. Earlier, he worked at Philips, and as an architect at IBM for Android platform development group.
@amsanjeev