Problem Solving, Confidence And Frustration Carrying Out Familiar Tasks On Non-Familiar Mobile Devices

Conrad Attard, Gail Mountain, Daniela M Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
219 Downloads (Pure)


Smart mobile devices, which are hand-held electronic devices with an advanced operative system (such as the Android platform, for example) connected via a wireless protocol, have become an integral and essential part of our everyday life, and support both social and workplace activities. However, adopting mobile technology within the workplace setting can induce challenges that impact user behaviour and performance. More specifically, internet connectivity is one of the main pillars underpinning smart mobile platform usage, and therefore is one of the first challenges a user encounters when adopting a new device. In order to examine how self-directed problem-solving occurs on unfamiliar smart mobile devices, as well as the approach users adopt in order solve the challenges they encounter, a study was carried out amongst 90 participants located in two countries, using internet connectivity as a case study. Users’ attitude, behaviour, confidence and frustration during problem-solving when performing a familiar task using an unfamiliar device, were investigated. Relationships between task complexity, confidence and job role were identified. Findings show that confidence, not previous exposure to technology, has an impact on the completion of the assigned tasks. A detailed video analysis of users’ attitudes and behaviours during problem-solving was conducted, emphasising a correlation between attitudes towards complete a task with the scores assigned to the way in which participants completed the task. In addition, the ability of users to understand the mobile device status bar messages and the system error messages has been shown to influence users’ ability to overcome an obstacle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date22 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • usability and problem-solving
  • self-directed learning
  • workplace
  • smart mobile devices
  • attitude and behavior
  • technical support.
  • Smart mobile devices
  • Self-directed learning
  • Usability and problem-solving
  • Workplace
  • Attitude and behaviour
  • Technical support


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