27
May
12

Prototype Essay

Mobile phone devices have become ever increasing in popularity over the years. It is constantly changing with more features being applied, designs always advancing which places high demand for these devices’ interfaces to decrease in size for convenience. Despite its increasing popularity, these handheld technologies still carry many limitations.

 

Issues with Small Screen 

Many users have reported difficult experiences in typing whereby they have experienced difficulties with the space provided to type. Despite many devices having mini keyboards or virtual keyboards, they are still of miniature size, subsequently causing poor visibility. The tiny size of the keyboards also causes trouble as your vision may be obscured or there is the possibility of clicking the incorrect key due to limited space. There is the problem of slowness when entering text and also the numerous spelling mistakes are due to these issues as well, despite most devices being equipped with mini keyboards and the auto correction function.

 

Mobile phone devices are created for the convenience of being able to place them in your handbag, pocket or to quite simply be hold. With this increasing demand for smaller, convenient sized phones, it places more pressure on minimising the amount of controls and content that can appear on the screens. This may subsequently lead to unnecessary, increased clicking, typing or scrolling in order to achieve the required outcome, which ‘might result in an increased “lost in hyperspace” effect or an increase in user frustration or fatigue’ (Albers & Kim, 2002).

 

Another consequence of having a small screen mobile device is the lack of association it has with computer familiarities as the ‘controls no longer look like their Web and desktop counterparts’ (Nudelman 2010). Due to the limited space, mobile devices are forced to design functions that will accommodate for such a small screen. For instance, instead of incorporating a drop down box, users may be forced to utilise pickers. This may cause confusion and subsequently frustration from trying to understand the functionality of the application.

 

 

Hypothetical Issues in the Prototype Development Stage

Many factors need to be taken into consideration before creating a mobile phone application as there may be numerous of difficulties that could potentially arise. During the development stages of the prototype, some issue may include the skills needed to develop the contents, time management, the designing phase, the resources (contents) and/or requiring particular programs.

 

Ideally, it would be great to have a team of individuals that are equally equipped in both the designing sector of the application and having the skills to developed the app using programming languages. This would be most ideal as it will avoid any conflicting ideas with the design. For example: the colours being wrong, the design not looking exactly the same once programmed or a lack of understanding as to why the development of it may be taking longer than expected and so forth. In saying this, it is a rarity to have people that are equally skilled in both areas at one time. Therefore, this may cause a problem when you have even just one of each, a designer and a developer as they may not see eye to eye.

 

Managing time may be difficulty if conflict arises between the designers and the developers, this can create tension between the two which can result to the need to redesign. Another possibility are of unforeseen circumstances such as family obligations or illness. These are only a few possibilities that may draw you back from the desired completion day.

 

 

Hypothetical Issues if the Application were Real 

As our application will be charging a small fee, users may be deterred to purchase the application due to many applications being readily available for free in the App store.

 

Due to the application being new, there may be the need to update the coding on more than one occasion. This may lead to numerous required updates for the application, which could lead to the application failing when in use. It may also cause issues if the user does not download the necessary updates. This may eventually lead to customers no longer wanting to use the service as it may become a nuisance having to possibly update on occasion.

 

Because the application requires wireless network connectivity or WiFi, users may not be able to user the application if they do not have these services.

 

Taking into consideration all these factors, it has made us more aware to place a lot of emphasis on the planning and developmental stage of our iPhone application.

 

We needed to take into consideration the issues of the iPhone’s virtual keyboard and work out a way to use the available space to maximise customer satisfaction. Options included slightly increasing the size of the text but not the buttons as we need to ensure it keeps its familiarities with computer keyboards and/or try and minimise customers having to type. The results ended in minimising customer typing and maximum efficiency was implemented through users only having to select options to achieve the desired outcome. The only areas required for typing was purely out of the customer’s choice such as submitting a main dish suggestion or the feedback form.

 

Ensuring the necessary skills are available for the entire duration of the project will not only maximise the function of the application on an ongoing basis but it will also allow us to adhere to the allocated timeline.

 

Prior to the launch of the application we will need to make sure a generous sample of the population from all walks of life test the product. This will ensure once again maximum efficiency and will also limit the amount of corrections.

 

The minimal to none typing requirements in hand with the minimalistic design assists in maximum efficiency also. This is created by customers being able to reach their desired outcome in less steps.

 

Most importantly, we’ve learnt to make sure to be prepared for change and to be able to accommodate for that to meet customer satisfaction and in hand maximise revenue simply because ‘handheld devices are likely to change further in size in the future with consumer demand for less bulky but more powerful devices’ (Churchill & Hedberg, 2006).

 

References 

Albers, M, Kim, L 2002, ‘Information Design for the Small-screen Interface: An Overview of Web Design Issues for Personal Digital Assistants’, Technical Communication, vol. 49, no 1, p. 55, viewed 26 May 2012

 

Churchill, D, Hedberg, J 2006, ‘Learning object design considerations for small-screen handheld devices’, Computers & Education, vol 50, p. 881

 

Nudelman 2010, Designing Mobile Search: Turning limitations into Opportunities, UX matters, viewed 25 May 2012,

<http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2010/03/designing-mobile-search-turning-limitations-into-opportunities.php&gt;

 

 Prototype Design Programs 

1. I used an online phone app creator named iBuildApp for the first demo screen shot. The template was standard and it was hard to navigate around. Trying to customised what we wanted was also difficult. This was the first one I used and could only produce very limited pages. However a great feature it had was having a template for different category the app may fall under as well as having the option of choosing to design as an Apple or Android format.

URL: http://ibuildapp.com/

 

2. I took a look at Protoshare next and it was handy. The function seem user friendly however it requires some pre-existing data being upload instead. I didn’t have pre-designs ready so if I use this software it will be a blank sketch with little to no data.

URL: http://www.protoshare.com/

 

3. The same ordeal as the above with Go Mockingbird

URL: https://gomockingbird.com/

 

4.The second program I tried out was Flairbuilder. Although this was also another sketch-like program, it contained functioning widgets that when preview live some of the feature works i.e. buttons. The layout was easy to follow and organise layers was simple. The full app template was created using this program.

URL: http://flairbuilder.com/

 

Wanting a wireframe program that allows full feature access for free, real-looking widgets tools being implemented (not sketches), doesn’t require any form of programming skills, being a quick and easy to learn (and produce) software, contain a downloadable function showcasing a working (live) prototype, options to send and shared with other people, options between the different phone format and allow customising functions to design what you want was all something merely impossible to find in one prototype creator program.

 

5. Another program I came across was Buzztouch. I have yet tried this program out but I believe it requires some programming skills. Based on further research of this program, it seems to be another good software to keep in mind. The structuring might be a little better than Just in Mind and I also believe that it may also contain a little more feature than other wireframe software out at the moment. There are a couple of stand out function available on this software that isn’t on others, one of which is any updates being made can be done directly on the web and the changes will automatically update all prototype already released. Another is the option to mix and match widget features to customise a new tool suitable to your liking.

URL: http://www.buzztouch.com/

 

6. When I came across Just in Mind it was by far the best software available online. It did require a download but a free trail was also an option. This trail allow the same access to the paid full version but the only downfall this trail had was only 1 prototype could ONLY be uploaded with the option of sharing it with ONLY 5 other people. However, this program ticked all the requirements that was needed to create this this prototype and therefore it was used. The click and drag function with the coding already built in made it really easy to develop the final prototype. External images could also be added to designs and the option to design for either Apple or Android was also available. HTML (maps), URLs (website) and Video (Youtube) contents could also be implemented into the the prototype. Although no programming skills is required, a form of how certain function works, flow and links together needs to be understood in order to for the layers to flow. If you purchase this software there are massive features available to you one of which is being to upload content live and also be available for other users to test. This user testing function will save time and money in the long run as the catered target audience will have a preview of the app before launch and provide feedbacks in return. These feedbacks will allow developers to enhance their final product in such a way that it will have a better successful rate when release.

URL: http://www.justinmind.com/

 

 

Take into consideration that all these software contains a need for registration and/or a fee to purchase the full version. Some may have trail versions free to download but keep in mind that the storage space, widgets, features, uploads and etc will be very limited. Having search almost all the wireframe software that may be available on Google, I have notice that majority of the programs requires some level of programming knowledge. Therefore if wanting to develop a fully functional, high quality standard application to be available in the app store having programming skills will not be a requirement but a necessary skill to contain.

21
May
10

Question Time #13: Idea concept…changed

Ah well i’m back. This is just another post linking back to the last post I put up. Well you would of guessed it… my concept idea changed.

It’s something I’ve been meanign to do but never really got the change… well that was until now. I still am unsure of what the title should considering it’s like a spoof ad or just something along those line.

My main idea is really about how advertisement are not they are always what they seem. Anyone got any idea? Anything? At all…

Well really I was inspired by a number of user on YouTube like:

to create a video that contain my concept. I really don’t know how I should make it though… like should it be realistic containing realy life people or just use voice over … over dodgy drawings?

Well the presentation will happen on the 4th of June so I guess that is when you will find out on the finish product. Crossing fingers that it will turn out alright.

So until next time ciao!

ps: GO the socceroos!

14
May
10

Question Time #12: Concept Idea – Photo-Essay

This post is really about what my intention is for my last assignment.

The concept idea that came to my mind when the teacher mention the task  of – What we would like to do (but really don’t have to excute it) was the concept Photography that came to my mind. Although when I asked her about the concept it was a little to broad. That was when I had to define the concept a little further.

I chose Photo-essay…

What I like about photo-essay is that through the choosen images, set in a particular way it (hopefully) show and tell a story to the viewer with little to no text required. The story will be of what the photographs contain in terms of content.

I have done this type of work before but I love to further develop the idea. That is why on Wednesday, I took some time and headed out to the city to take some photographs to hopefully use to create a few photo-essay to show the class in the powerpoint.

I really hope I could do the pitch and write the analysis in time…..

FREAKING OUT until next time.

(These are some of my photos that I took)

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14
May
10

Question Time #11: Gen-Y – need for community or connection?

If you look around these days, almost everyone is using or have some kind ot high tech device like the smart phones (e.g. Apple iPhone). This leads to communication forum website such as FaceBook and Twitter. Personally, I believe that these devices and forms to keep in touch with new, old and current friends are the most common uses today.

So is this a need to belong in a community or simply a network help to make new connections?

Personally, I believe it’s a bit of the two mixed together and that is smart considering the high tech devices we have to make almost anything possible. So for example: FaceBook is a community in itself that allow us as users to be apart of a group. From that, it is clear that it is also a form of connection that allow people to stay in touch or connected with people from all around the world in the only single place.

That could be the reason in itself of why GenY is so caught up in these new funtamental devices. It is said that the reason why technology is developed and improved all the time, is so it can make our lives more simple and easy to maintain. With that quote, I believe that we have come a long way starting from nothing.

Every generation that have come and gone; we as human and consumers have a much more demanding need and want in terms of new technology. Everytime when something new comes out for purchase, we try it out and like always point out the cons in terms of what it CAN NOT do and forget how advance our technology we have has already come along.

As a consumer myself, having the smart phone (Apple iPhone), I too tend to that that approach above but at the same time also believe that there is so much more to come down the track.

So until next time. Keep your eyes open for any new devices, website just anything that is more than we have now. (keep in mind it may take some time.)

14
May
10

Question Time #10: Target Audience

Target Audience Definition:

 

In marketing and advertising, a target audience, or target group is the primary group of people that something, usually an advertising campaign, is aimed at appealing to. A target audience can be people of a certain age group, gender, maritial status, etc.

As you can see the target audience could range, from as little to a more broader and open community. For me target audience comes down to the actual product itself because that is where you can determine and define which group will have a higher response to the new release product.

This is a marketing and advertisment stratagy to make money for the business or company and really that’s what it comes to at the end of the day.

There is really no point for example creating a video game, filled with action and violence and target it to the older audience like our parents because really, all I see is waste of money, loss in productivity (time) and problem arising due to the content it contains. So in this case it is better to aim the game at console owners and young teens would are into those type of games.

Another example is Ikea whom is best known for this creative, innovating furniture and it’s design. Their main focus is aimed at young couple and families.

Something more difficult is the item – Photographs. This is diffult because many of it’s contents needs to be looked at before determining a audience range. Examples are like, What is the phtograph is used for? Where will it be place? What is the image intension? So for this I would say it can be for all ages depending on its use.

So as you can see, target audience can be very broad and too general but if you make it more define in what age group. gener ect it can make your task a lot easier. Even creating a Persona and keeping it near by so you will have the target aim in mind everytime you work on the project.

Until next time, I will leave it at that.

 

04
May
10

Question Time #9: Creativity and Play (PART 2)

This week tut was very educational. I got a lot out of the two video that was shown in class.

TALK VIDEO ON TED CHANNEL :

TIM BROWN – CREATIVITY AND PLAY and SCOTT McCLOUD – UNDERSTANDING COMICS

The video Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. He said a lot of interesting things and gave many inspirable advice.

TEDtalksDirector –

QUOTE: COMES DOWN TO FOUR BASIC PRINCIPLE: – LEARN FROM EVERYONE – FOLLOW NO-ONE – WATCH FOR PATTERNS – WORK LIKE HELL

McCloud stated that there are three vision:                                         

  1. Science Vision
  2. Blind Faith Vision
  3. Is all about ‘Can Be’ ‘Maybe’; but based on what we know but yet unproven

The third vision is seen in the fields of:

  1. Science
  2. Art
  3. Politics
  4. Personal Endevour

In comics there are also a four attitude:

  1. Formalist – Strike to undertsand how it works
  2. Classicist – Embrace beauty and class
  3. Animist – Pure of transparent in content
  4. Iconolast – Human experience; Honesty

They also corresponse to the human thoughts

  1. Thinking
  2. Sensation
  3. Intuition
  4. Feelings

The four attitude also reflect on:

1 + 2 = ART on the left    —    3 + 4 = LIFE on the right    —    2 + 3 = TRADITION on the top    —    1 + 4 = REVOLUTION on the bottom    —    1 + 3 = FORM&CONTENT diagonal    —    2 + 4 = BEAUTY&TRUTH diagonal

An important thing about comic is that it’s a VISUAL MEDIUM that embraces all the SENCES within it. Comics contain many elements in one: Images, Words (Text), Symbols and everything in between ie. Colours and Sound; but overall it represent VISION.

Resemblence – resemble the physical look of things but not losing it  features and keeping it’s meaning OR be abstracted away from the resemblance and meaning to get a completly different picture look. Visual and comics embraces the content more when all three are connected together.

Moving further away from resemblance, you will get language but even that still maintain it’s meaning.

Vision also needs sound. We need to understand the two and its properties together. That is exactly what comic artist do, they use these elements to help capture the characteristic of sounds and texture through the use of visual images in comics.

Visable and Invisable – Comics have the abilities to give readers visual but at the same time leave room for readers to form their own imagination based on what they’ve seen and what is given.

Time is another scent – squences in comics is very important and it allows readers to understand the time frame of when the event(s) occurs.

Overall media is a window back into our world we live in but also at the same time can provide an escape.

Well that is it for the two parts. These two post were just interesting and informative information that I extracted from the two videos we watched in class last week on the 30th of April, 2010.

 

30
Apr
10

Question Time #8: Creativity and Play (PART 1)

This week tut was very educational. I got a lot out of the two video that was shown in class.

TALK VIDEO ON TED CHANNEL :

TIM BROWN – CREATIVITY AND PLAY

As designers we are open to all possibilities and from that we can ask what can I do with it? Expand the idea further? Create more choices? so on.

TedtalksDirector –

So as a designer do we have rules?

Technically ‘no’  but we have to have them in order to break from the old rules and habits that we have growning up as adults. It is said that as children, we have the ability to not be shy and more are open to endless ideas/possibilities with our given skills and imagination.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               EXAMPLE: When a child is given an empty box they have more fun than the toy in it itself.  When we hit primary school we lose great qualities and skill within that period of time but worst we forget majority of them when we hit adult stage.

We may think that children play all the time but really when you look closer they don’t always. There is like a transition between ‘in’ and ‘out’ of play. Funny thing is they too have rules, have a code that they all know and when playing they seem to follow a script.

Pretty ‘Constructive’ I must say. Speaking of which Construction Play is learning by doing. Somewhat thinking with your hands. Another thing is ‘Roleplay’ which is when designers act out the role and to try their new identity.

Coming back to to the main topic is BRAINSTORM there suppose to be like around 7 key points when starting. They are:

  1. Sharpen the focus (open mind/focusing)
  2. Playful Rules
  3. Number your ideas (quantity not quality) 
  4. Build and Jump (take one idea and push it further)
  5. Space Remembers
  6. Stretch your Mental Machine (push your minds)
  7. Get Physical (break the ice)

First to start of with is the REVERSE BRAINSTORMING which will contain the less conducive ideas to prevent creativity (IN CLASS). Somewhat like:

  1. Having NO computers or resources
  2. NO lighting
  3. HARSH/BRIGHT lighing
  4. LOUD volume which is distracting
  5. STRESSFUL noise
  6. EXAMS and ASSESSMENTS
  7. ANIMALS
  8. PHONES

Now moving onto BRAINSTORMING for ideas to make it more of a creative environment in class is to maybe:

  1. Decorate the room
  2. Have space/room
  3. Plants
  4. Colours
  5. Couches
  6. Bean bags
  7. Comfortable environment where it’s friendly, trustworthty, security
  8. Images on the wall
  9. Physical learning
  10. Music
  11. Have proper and useful equipments and resources
  12. Vending Machines
  13. Recliners
  14. Toys
  15. Happy, safe, relax environment – non-stressful

 

Those are just some ideas but feel free to add more to any of the list. 

This isn’t to say that we should all play and only play or work and only work. We can be a serious professional adult AND PLAY without putting a ‘OR’ in between. A quote by TIM BROWN that I found really nice. Allow me to think that I can continue on with my path and hopefully do what I love as well as have time to PLAY and have FUN. <— Very important!