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The present article describes the design process of a fault-finding application for mobile devices, which was built to support workers' performance by guiding them through a systematic strategy to stay focused during a fault-finding process. In collaboration with a project partner in the manufacturing industry, a fault diagnosis application was conceptualized based on a human-centered design approach (ISO 9241- 210:2010). A field study with 42 maintenance workers was conducted for the purpose of evaluating the performance enhancement of fault finding in three different scenarios as well as for assessing the workers' acceptance of the technology. Workers using the mobile device application were twice as fast at fault finding as the control group without the application and perceived the application as very useful. The results indicate a vast potential of the mobile application for fault diagnosis in contemporary manufacturing systems.
Results of the field study confirm the broad potential for use of IT in a number of areas based on an HCD process. The results of the in-depth interviews confirm the demand for a mobile technology as daily work support for inexperienced as well as more experienced employees in the maintenance staff. The diagnostic process was accelerated, while simultaneously, the overall diagnostic quality improved. Notably, inexperienced employees made fewer observed errors. The empirical results validate the significant impact of information technology on job performance. Just for the three scenarios, the time for diagnosis was reduced by a total of 119 min. Additionally, participant observation showed a reduction in errors made during the diagnostic process. Furthermore, the importance of an HCD approach during the development process is a formative criterion of particular importance. Since experts have been shown to exhibit superior performance on memory tasks (Lindgaard, 1995), by conceptualizing a performance-supporting system based on the mapping of expert knowledge, an optimized diagnostic strategy can be achieved. Thus, it is important to attain a deeper understanding of the domain within which problem solving needs to be supported, and additionally of how the relationships between relevant variables are perceived by experts (Lindgaard, 1995). Moreover, the mobile context of use should be more focused, as users reported some concerns regarding the nonfunctional features, such as the weight of the device on which the mobile application is running.