Requirements Analysis (Chapter 3)
- Category: Level 3, Computing Project (Dissertation)
- Published: Thursday, 06 September 2018 08:46
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Requirements Analysis / Knowledge Elicitation
After learning the scientific background of the project, the next step was to analyse the needs required to achieve the goal. The analysis followed the thematic of the module and has been described in chronological order in this chapter. The analysis expanded to learning the environmental factors of the task, functional and non-functional components necessary for the achievement of goal, effective implementation of software development processes, and to applicable devices as well.
As a first step, a project proposal was prepared during the analysis, which presented the basic criteria with the module leaders and participants in the project. The proposal contained a description about the scope of users, the definition of the problem to be solved by the project, the development devices available for the solution, and also the list of required features. Further categories were areas of necessary scientific backgrounds, list of primarily known publications, summary of ethical expectations and limitations, and data of the sponsor involved in the project.
Although the definition of the goal was relatively simple, it turned out to be complicated during the preparation of the proposal. The primary plans have been modified several times; the sponsor, the supervisor, and the module leader made proposals regarding content and organization. After several modifications, it succeeded to develop a version acceptable to all parties, and participants indicated their approval with their signatures.
The final version can be found in Appendices, Section C.
The next step after the Project Proposal was the PACT analysis. According to the definition of PACT analysis, it is a method that analyses what kind of activity, in what kind of environment, and what kind of technology each user group uses (Reinius 2011).
The PACT analysis is an accepted method regarding environmental description of basic functions in the early stages of software development. According to the definition of the completed analysis, three basic subgroups of potential users can be distinguished.
· Fitness user
· Amateur athlete
· Professional athlete
It is expedient to distinguish the results of these subgroups because of later analyses, so the results can be applied to comparisons as well.
The business section was a detailed list of necessary functions. These functions were: secure registration and entry system, mental survey with the help of a questionnaire, graphical display of modifications, providing advice to achieve better results, and an online sharing option of results.
The applying interface has not been restricted, but according to the primary goal, a job queue is to be developed that can be safely implemented in any place. Because of diverse application, it is expedient to create it in such way that it would require little space and as fewer supplementary equipment as possible. Because of my credible measuring, communication with external or internal sensors should be integrated as far as possible.
According to the technological definition, it is important to support as large as possible number of mobile devices and the application of a development device that best fits the program, which is Android Studio in our case.
The whole PACT analysis also can be found in Appendices, Section D.
Preparation of a precise schedule and meeting the deadlines are essential for the development of a professional software, so this was the next task to be performed at this project as well.
Preparation of the schedule was based on the available time frame (400 hours). Availabe time for the subtasks had to be planned ahead. Because of the complexity of the project, a detailed task list should have been created, which covers the analysis, planning, development, testing, evaluation, and documentation. A further difficulty was that the schedule of the parallel modules was not available in all cases, so major changes had to be expected as well.
With the help of the supplementary materials of the module it managed to create a feasible schedule and assign the tasks and time frames. Towards the end of the project, due to many uncertain components, only the given month and available number of hours have been determined.
The available time spans by categories:
Planning & Control
Analysis & Design
The completed schedule has always been complemented during the whole project; and the whole, complemented table also can be found in Appendices, Section C.
To prove that the problem indicated in the introduction does exist; that is, a deficiency is in the services offered by existing applications, it was necessary to learn the existing applications. There was only one option, namely, the existing mobile applications and their functions had to be reviewed.
In the course of the research we have found an online list that mentioned the most popular applications. The same applications were included in the analyses with a similar topic; therefore, the list was considered to be relevant.
12 Android Apps for Athletes of All Training Levels
The mentioned specifications and services of the applications were arranged into a list. In addition to the features, links of the videos demonstrating the products have been inserted. Then, they were complemented with short descriptions of experiences.
The research revealed that mainly large sporting goods companies offer applications to support their own devices. The functions of applications offered in greater or lesser numbers mainly tasks that improve only physical condition, but we did not found any task that would examine also the mental condition.
A further experience was that the tasks were heavily device-dependent, and they supported only their own devices, therefore using them was impossible both physically and etically. However, the research was a good first step to learn about the environment of the area.
The documentation about the research along with the prepared documents including the other analyses can be found in Appendices, Section D.
This brings us to the end of the first section, whose experiences and conclusions are summarized in the next subsection, Definitive Brief.
The tasks of the first section were summarized by Definitive Brief. The definition of Definitive Brief is determined as following (Department of Finance, 2009) “A project brief is a complete statement of user requirements and other technical, administrative and financial information relevant to a capital works project that is required to satisfy a particular need.” Although the definition was made for financial projects, it can also be applied well to this area. In other words, this section describes the user and financial needs besides the environmental qualities and problem solving processes, methods.
The dependence on mental state of sport performances is a recognized fact. Experts are available to professional athletes, who pay attention to this area and optimize mental skills in competition periods. Such opportunities are not available to amateur and fitness athletes.
In order to support individuals living an active life in sports, a huge amount of IT solutions was born, but these offer only different exercises, and they record and monitor the energy used during the implementation of exercises.
Although the above mentioned definitions are clearly dependent on each other, there are still no IT solutions dealing with these two areas together to prove that. The project tried to improve this deficiency.
After describing the problem to be solved, the characteristics of scientific processing of the area had to be determined. In this section, scientific publications and their lessons prepared for the main parts of the project were analysed. The first issue that was examined was the role of electronic devices in sport. IT explosion, as in all other areas, brought major changes in sport as well. Increasingly accurate and cheaper sensors were applied for tracking sport movements and improving incorrect movements as well. Further important areas of application are the promotion of injury free exercise or the after treatment of injuries that have already occurred. The same procedures were included in the huge market of video games as well, and they also promote the broadcast of sporting events, such as goal line monitoring cameras or eagle eye cameras used in tennis. A further area of application includes devices helping relaxation during sport; for example, it is a proved fact that listening to music helps keeping the rhythm, and it has a beneficial effect on the heart rate regulation as well.
The second section analysed technological rules during sport exercises. One of the most important definitions in this part is that technological devices can only contribute to make movements and exercises visible, and process them digitally, but they cannot affect the performance of exercises. It is required for sports and other applications to be easily understandable and manageable through visualization. A further important rule is that the measurements have to be real-time and accurate, because processing time and repeatability are important.
The third category was the user behaviours. Factors affecting the execution of the project as well are the fundamental human habits. People insist on their usual habits, and accustom to a new habit takes a very long time. Therefore, it is important that the application solving the problem could adjust to the already known activities. Relevant publications and behaviour of students were investigated, and it was found that the use of mobile devices has become one of the most common activities. Mobile devices are used for innumerable amount of functions. Mobile phones are only used to a lesser degree as real phones, in most cases they are used for running other applications.
This section also includes a list of primary literature advised by the sponsor, and studying the list may help understand the issues. It could be concluded that the proposed solution adjusts to the applications recommended by the scientific publications.
We did not want to limit the user group of the project, deciding it was important to reach more users. The research stated that the Android operating system is the market leader on the mobile devices market. Therefore, it is expedient to focus on this platform.
The application required four basic functions. Questionnaires are useful for surveying the mental state. For the physical surveying we had to develop tasks that tests general features such as balance, reaction time and fitness. The third function relates to the long term central data storage and visualization by diagrams. The fourth main function is giving advice for better results and elimination of errors.
From the range of usable devices, those chosen should be the best for executing the task. A working internet connection and a secure storage device are needed for the central data storage of clients’ personal data. For surveying the physical state, we will probably need commonplace, and cheap, sensor-equipped devices like Nintendo Balance Board.
For development, a programming language must be chosen which is the best for the purpose, but one that also allows for possible later development. Between two applicable languages, Adobe Flash Pro Action Script 3 and Android Studio Java, the second one is preferred because the user base of Action Script is decreasing, whilst Java is still a widely used language.
- User registration
- Choice of difficulty levels
- Mental state measure by questionnaires
- Physical state measure by activities
- Store information in database
- Display changes in graphs
- Send result via emails
- Give tips and hints for better results
- Easy accessibility
- Security system for saving personal details
- Connect to database via internet connection
- Use graphical elements for easy usability
- Support most of the device’s operating system
- Connection with external sensors
- Version control
- Further development opportunity
- Repeatable, accurate measurements
The most important rule during the realization is obeying the ethical regulations and directives of professional software development. Only sources with copyrights that allow free usage are allowed for realization. Besides the free usage, it is still important to mark the sources. The participants must be informed about the goals of the project and possible later applications. Understatements informing that they freely take part in the project must be verified with their signatures. A User Guide is needed to be incorporated into the application which must be accepted by the users during registration. Every rule of handling personal data must be adhered to.
The project incorporates the whole process, from analysis through to the planning and developing, to testing and documentation. The purpose of the module is to provide guidance through the software development process and to prove that the whole process is professionally executed, conforming to the profession's rules and regulations.
During previous academy years, many software development methods were acknowledged and many others were omitted from the curriculum. The software development is mainly group work so that is why the methods support this work-sharing arrangement. A method needed to be chosen which supports this aspect because this project is a single-person-driven development.
There are a number of different software development methods. They are listed with no regard to completion:
- Agile Software Development
- Crystal Methods
- Dynamic Systems Development Model (DSDM)
- Extreme Programming (XP)
- Feature Driven Development (FDD)
- Joint Application Development (JAD)
- Lean Development (LD)
- Rapid Application Development (RAD)
- Rational Unified Process (RUP)
- Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
- Waterfall (a.k.a. Traditional)
(Retrieved from IT Knowledge portal 22 October 2015 http://www.itinfo.am/eng/software-development-methodologies/)
Another criterion of selection was the coverage of the whole development, and this is why the Waterfall was chosen, which belongs to System Development Life Cycle family. The basic feature of Waterfall method is that the functions are developed one by one, and until the current function has been developed a new development cannot be started. The definition of the project did not exclude the use of other methods, but this type seemed perfect for progress, and it did not seem reasonable to use other methods.
A meeting was held with the sponsor and the sports department leader technician before deciding the subject of the project. Only the outlines of the project were drawn on the meeting which covers parts of both fields. The devices that were used by the department were presented during this conversation. All of the presented devices surveyed the physical state of athletes, active exercising or the patients under rehabilitation. There was no computer-based solution for surveying and processing the mental state results.
Due to lack of surveying physical state, it was impossible to survey the physical performance by the aspects of physical state. To fill the lack of this test, capable software needed to be developed. The planning was specified by the subject of the school year, which were the mobile applications according to the early semester informative. That is why it was recommended to choose one for the subject of dissertation.
The method and the platform chosen for developing are parts of university curriculum. Two programming languages were available for the project: Action Script 3.0 and Android Studio Java language. Because Java is a younger and more common programming language than the other one, more arguments were on this site.
The whole Definite Brief can be found in appendices D but without any annexes because these are previously-made documents such as PACT, Schedule, etc. which are already presented, and that is why it is unnecessary to present them again.
Sport has also benefited from rapid technological development, and continuous development can be made thanks to new inventions. The most recent period has been characterised by the development of mobility, which has provided new opportunities for software companies.
As this chapter is highly related to our project, we will be focusing on main components in subchapters.
Software and hardware are the two basic components of IT. Neither of them can operate without each other. The first part is the physical device (hardware) itself which provides the opportunity to run the second main part, the software. Hardware has had an explosive development over the last few decades. Software markets have tried to expand to follow the growth in the hardware market. Hardware manufacturers were the world’s leading companies some decades ago, but software companies have taken over this position, and now have one of the biggest turnovers (Binken & Stremersch 2009). The reason is probably the fact that hardware manufacturers are fragmented while software companies pursue a monopoly on all fronts. Operating systems connect hardware and software together so they are important aspects. During the development process, we need to take into consideration which operating systems are available on the most frequently used devices and how their features could be utilised.
Another fundamental function is connection to networks. It is important in terms of data storage as well as data sharing. Networks also belong to hardware and software solutions so we will discuss it in this chapter.
Early smartphones included the Ericson GS 88 device in 1997. Smartphones were launched as the successor of PDAs and they combined the functions of PDAs and phones. Smartphones stand out from mobile phones with their CPU performance, greater memory and larger screen. Touchscreen is also an important invention which initially could only be used with stylus. In contrast, present-day sensitive screens have multi-touch options. Integration of camera and memory card into smartphones have made additional applications possible. It has been possible to install low-energy microchips into mobile devices. 3D can already be run on these devices. Innovative sensors were also built in, for example accelerometer and gyroscope which are suitable for following turns of devices. Even activity supporting games can be developed by them (Islam & Want 2014).
Battery life has caused limitations, and it is still an issue. Run time of the newest devices has less than one hour with intensive use (Elnashar & El-Saidny 2014). A further negative aspect is vulnerability of screens. When someone is walking along the street, they can continuously see people using smartphones with broken screens, and an industry has been established based on faulty screens. Protection of screen is limited because of the competition induced by size and weight.
Storage is also a negative issue. Although this has evolved vastly, cameras have also improved at the same rate. Cameras’ high resolution media files can fill any size of storage space. High resolution screens have generated larger-sized applications. Built-in cameras also have limited capabilities due to their size. Their resolution is evolving but they still provide less clear pictures than regular digital cameras. Nokia Lumnia 1020 device has 41 megapixel resolution. Its small size is a negative. More than 3 million mobile devices were manufactured, lost or stolen in the USA in 2013. Developers tried to solve these problems with anti-theft applications. Using PIN code is an efficient method but only half of the users employ it with their device.
Forecasts predict more rapid development regarding opportunities that smartphones provide, and expansion of smart glasses and wireless connections are expected. More types of accessories can be connected to mobile phone networks. Sizes of image projectors has drastically decreased so they will be available in mobile devices, too. Launches of 3D screens and holograms are also expected. Attempts are being made to reduce security via biometric scanners. Smart phones are integrated in everyday used items such as watches or clothes. Disadvantages of screens could be solved by shock and water resistance and flexibility. (Ahmed & Ahmed 2014).
Jyothy and Shinto (2013) published a study, titled ‘Mobile OS – Comparative Study’ in Journal of Engineering, Computers & Applied Sciences (JEC&AS). The publication discussed operation systems developed for available and safe mobile platforms.
The study was carried out by statistical analysis, and it included users' experience and security services. It summarised the share of operating system between January 2009 and 2013 in a table.
The following systems were stated in the table:
- Symbian OS
- Black Berry OS
- Series 40 (Nokia)
- Sony Ericsson
The following data needs to be emphasised. iOS continuously owned an estimated 30% of market share. After the initial 0.66% share, Android got closer to 40% with continuous development at the end. Black Berry OS was increasing until 2010, reached its peak in 2011. However, its share has been decreasing since then, and fell to 3% by 2013. Samsung stepped into the market in 2009, and reached 6.5% at year end. It went down to under 5% in the following quarter.
The study pointed out the following ascertainment. Android system is based on Linux Kernel. Main programming language is Java. Android OS is an open source platform system and one of its foremost developmental aspects is security which has been made flexible by multi-layered security levels. Currently, it is considered as one of the safest operating systems. iOS was developed by Apple following the tradition of MAC OS. The most important concern is the user-friendly interface. Personal data is protected by encoding. Applications are restricted by users' permission. It supports the encoding of network communication. Lost or stolen devices can be found on map, and personal data can be deleted remotely, and devices can be completely blocked. Operating system of Microsoft Windows Phone 8 is also worth mentioning. Although it is not a key product on the market, its security features are device and data encoding, data leak prevention and digital signature. (Jyothy & Shinto 2013)
An up-to-date table was published on IDC Research, Inc. website.
According to these tables, Android gained 80% market share in 2014 and it maintains this level with small fluctuations. It caused the decrease of iOS share to under 20%. These numbers show that other market actors do not have a significant share of Mobile Operating Systems market.
A review of operating systems points out that devices running Android OS are significant. They meet all challenges in terms of security too. In terms of our project, it means that developments need to be focused on these devices.
Computer networks are grouped in Computer Science in Sport (2015) by Bacca. The types are as follows:
· Personal area network (PAN); it generally provides communication between computers and other devices. Its range is only few metres.
· Local area network (LAN); it can be identified regarding computer links of apartments, offices or inside a particular place.
· Metropolitan area network (MAN); it covers bigger units like universities
· Internet and World Wide Web (www), it internationally joins content which is accessible by everybody
The biggest advantage of networks are the fact that they can join a large number of devices and provide high-speed connection for mobile devices by 3G and 4G mobile internet protocols. According to forecasts, mobile devices will take over the role of computers soon. (Pitt, 2012) This is supported by the following processes. Rapid development of computing performance does not associate with proportionate heat production anymore. Interlacement of operating systems and newest operating systems have already supported desktop as well as mobile devices. Size of storage has been increased, too.
Several networks can be utilised for development of our project among the above mentioned ones. PAN networks would provide connection between mobile devices and external sensors by Bluetooth. LAN network cover mobile devices with inexpensive internet through Wi-Fi. The internet makes it possible to create databases stored on central servers, access them from anywhere, and share their results. Spread of mobile devices are verified by Jeremy Pitt's forecast.
One of the main aims of our project is data collection regarding users’ mental and physical health conditions. Therefore it is important to review mobile devices in this chapter.
Jadkowski's (2015) ‘Best Practices in Mobile Data Collection’ study defined main features of data collection with mobile devices as follows.
Applications on mobile devices are involved in most of our everyday activities. Data can be collected more easily by functions built into mobile phones and tablets, such as GPS or camera.
One of the most important benefits of mobile data collecting is cost-effectiveness compared to previous methods. Completing a paper-based questionnaire consisting of 20 questions and its computer-based processing usually cost $0.51 - $1.88.
Cost of data collection by mobile devices is almost zero. Costs consist of the following.
- Cost of paper and printing
· Data collections costs (time of completion and wages)
· Additional cost of employees (e.g. holidays, contributions which are 20% more compared to collection costs)
· Cost of infrastructure (building and equipment), additional 80% compared to data collection cost
- Administration cost
Additional advantages of mobile data collection:
· More varied types of data. For example pictures, audio files, GPS data, or mistakes can be reduced by barcode scanning
· More accurate data, validation, determinable minimum and maximum values
· Faster processing, risk reduction, damage or loss of paper-based questionnaires
- More secure data collection, authentication and encoding options
- Environmental benefits
- Software for creating questionnaires
Disadvantages could be
· Different operating systems. Different customer habits on continents.
- Features of browsers
- Connectivity limit of networks
- Varied options by hardware
Disadvantages can be solved by standard programming languages like HTML, W3C, XML, XForm. These standard languages can be run on every operating system and browser (Park 2015).
As our project will have a data collection feature, this criteria is important during the development process.