Simon Kohrtz and Jeppe Risum: The mobile ticket sales system - a conceptual design proposal. Master Thesis in Danish [Det mobile billetsalgssystem - et konceptuelt designforslag], IT University of Copenhagen, 2003.
The danish youth travel agency Viby Ungdomsrejser is a thriving company with an average of more than 400 customers every week, during the six week long danish summer holiday period. Since a vital part of their revenue comes from selling different products at the destination - mainly excursions of various sorts - it is important that they have some sort of system that can manage this part of the business. Today they use a mobile paperbased system which they have developed over the years, but the physical nature of the system gives the working staff on the destination some problems. Problems that can be solved if they could get a new IT-based system.
Hence, on the basis of the case in picture, this thesis tries to give a solution to a conceptual design for such a system. A system that is mobile and at the same time makes the need for paper handling absolete. In order to make sure that our solution is designed to support this specific field of work, we examine what kind of work practice we are dealing with. That is, we dont just want to give a solution to the experienced problems in isolation from their social context. We want to make sure that the new system is adapted properly in to the daily use and work practice.
When we apply technology to a specific field of work, the technology has to be designed to support the apparent needs properly. But the new possibilites of the technology can also inspire to augment the existing field of work, and expand it to new areas, not achievable before. In this manner, we have invisioned the need for gathering data regarding the different sales. This way the management is able to optimize the allocation of their sales ressources, based on results from data analysis. What is special about this case is that both customers and vendors are mobile. It is not possible to connect a physical or symbolic place to a specific transaction. To overcome this, we have integrated a functionality that, with the help of positioning technology, gathers the time and physical location of every transaction. Since the physical location (coordinates) in itself isnt enough to describe a sale situation, we need to augment the definition of location to include the symbolic abstractions, which are vital for describing the sales-work at the destination. That is, we need to map some relevant meaning onto the physical information.
After the right information has been stored in a database, we need to adapt some sort of analysis methodology, that effectively can handle the gathered information. We suggest the use of data mining, a term for specific methods that can create meaning out of big piles of seamingly meaningless data. We also argue that this is the proper methodology for handling the analysis functionality.
CSCW theses at ITU