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Final Project Info!

So we’re going to extend the mobile strategy work that we’ve done for the last five weeks into apps of your own choosing.

The app needs to be rooted in communication/journalism. A “draw a funny face on your friend” app isn’t that. An app that builds an ad-hoc reporting team at an event it. It can be an app that publishes information, or one that collects it (or a combination of the two). It can be an app that interfaces and dialogues with a community. It can be an app that… you get the picture.

It also needs to be rooted in an audience and fills a real need for those people–not a perceived one.

The app needs to be conceived of and presented in a context–where do people use this, and why there?

The app needs to target a specific platform.

NEXT CLASS: PITCH (5 minutes max)
Your pitch will do a few things:

  • Introduce the concept.
  • Introduce the audience/community it is created for
  • Give a basic sense of how it works.
  • Give the context that people will use it.
  • Explain what platform you’re targeting and why.

A 300 word report should be turned in that covers these same areas.

FOLLOWING WEEK: PAPER PROTOTYPES
Test your paper prototypes with five people from your community over the week. Bring your refined prototype to class, we will test it with each other. Additionally, post 300 words on the testing process, with video documentation, to the class blog.

FINAL WEEK: HI-REZ WALKTHROUGH + PRESENTATION
Build out a hi-rez prototype of your application and demo it in a five-minute presentation. Presentation & report specifics will be outlined on the class blog.

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Categories: Assignments
  1. April 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    April Hornsby
    4/28/2011
    Our own mobile app

    In this day and age, our phones are the greatest tool to have quick and fast mobile uploads on the go. What is not often handy that every journalist should use is “the journalist Bible,” or the A.P. Stylebook that is used every day when reporting. When it comes to reporting, one should not get sloppy because he/she does not have the proper tools available to report accurately. When reporting on the go, a reporter’s work should be as accurate and reliable as if he/she was working at the desk in a news room. It is very inconvenient to have a thick Stylebook with a journalist especially when reporting on the go.
    Having the whole A.P. Stylebook on a mobile device may seem somewhat overbearing when it comes to having every entry in the book on one simple app. What if we took the A.P Stylebook and use only the most frequent entries? For example: How to abbreviate a state name? How to abbreviate commissioned officers? These entries can be organized similar to the book to give it that user friendly feel. It could be used in a dictionary format or it could be organized in other ways that may relate to one another.
    This app will be used for journalist and student journalist alike. This app can be used for tight deadlines and it is always convenient. Think about it. People seldom leave their phone anywhere. They always know where their phone is. With the A.P. stylebook, it’s easily misplaced, it is not valued as much as a phone and its bulk often allows it to get left behind.
    This will be a frequently used app that can be updated over time. I see this app not only being on iPhone and Android phones, but it can easily be used on iPads and mimicking tablets in the near future.

  2. April 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    The app I am proposing is a high-end voice recorder/note taker. Most voice recorders journalists use are simply push and go devices, meaning that once a user hits “record” and eventually “stop”, the user is left with an audio recording that could easily get lost with other previous recordings. Depending on the voice recorder, the user may not have a screen that displays information such as recording length or date, which leaves users having to listen to the recording for a few seconds to remember what it is. While the process of recording voices for an interview or notes is simple, the process of recalling needed information is not always easy. This is where the app comes in.

    The target audience is obviously aimed towards journalists, but others who rely on voice memos may find this app useful as well. (One example of non-journalists using the app would be students that record class lectures to use for notes). The interface would be similar to the iPhone’s “Voice Notes” feature, but it will also integrate with Dragon Dictation in order to transcribe the recorded audio. These transcripts can be saved to the device and then sent via email. Users will have the option to make corrections to the transcripts in case Dragon Dictation does not pick up everything. The recorded audio can also be labeled with the date, time length, and given a title so users can easily scroll through and find the recordings they need. Geolocation will also be implemented, in the sense that when audio is recorded, the audio file will have its location saved in case the user needs to remember where the audio was recorded. Finally, each audio file can be edited on the device in order to clip out unnecessary audio, and even a filtering system can be used to try and reduce background interference.

    This voice recorder offers more features than the traditional voice memo app that comes on the iPhone, and the inclusion of Dragon Dictation for transcripts can help a journalist that doesn’t have time to transcribe every voice recording he or she has. Geolocation is also helpful in the sense that journalists can use the audio recording’s location data and integrate it with possibly Google Fusion Tables to create a map of recordings from the same area.

    I would be targeting the iPhone platform because while Android devices may be becoming more popular, not all Android hardware is created equally. Some Android devices have terrible microphones and speakers, so the playback and recording quality may differ. We can trust that all iPhones are created equal in terms of speaker and microphone hardware, so it will be easier to test an app running on the same hardware. I also favor the iPhone platform because its Voice Memo app is already a good starting point for modeling this app.

  3. April 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    In simple terms, this app is a combination of the ideas explored in Foursquare, Yelp and a now discontinued section of Gawker.com known as Gawker Stalker (this still exists as a forum on the site but was more practical and easily associated with this app in its old incarnation). Gawker Stalker used a simple map interface to record celebrity sightings in and around New York City.

    This app would expand upon that to include a reviewing system based on the preferences of locally famous people in the users area (this would include actors, sports stars, politicians, newscasters, ect). In addition to tracking the “stars” the user would be able to easily access information about the venues they visited including tips about whats hot, what to try, ect. This app is largely targeted towards those who live in or are visiting large cities and are obsessed with popular culture, visiting celebrity hot spots and want a taste of the superstar lifestyle. In smaller cities the locally famous would make more frequent appearances on the app.

    The app would borrow Foursquare’s concept of ‘checking in’ though you yourself would not check in, you would check in the famous person you spot at a venue. In addition to this the user would be able to add tips and reviews of the venue they were at which would give greater insight to the type of venue and the people spotted there. Instead of becoming mayor like on Foursquare, the “stars” could become king or queen of the venue. The main purpose of the app is to make the lifestyle of the locally famous more accessible to the public. The app would also serve as a record of the current top “stars” out on the town and the top venues to spot them at. After using geo-location to locate your position, the user will be able to search for “stars” and venues nearby.

    I chose to target this platform because it is an audience I am familiar with and I feel that popular culture is underrepresented in the app world.

  4. Regan Crisp
    April 28, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Part of my problem with sites (and mobile apps) like Everyblock is how text-based they are. I’m a very visual person, and while I appreciate the information and breaking news I get from citizen journalism or local news blogs, I lose interest quickly without a visual. Cities are complex, diverse entities with many unique neighborhoods, and I need to see a neighborhood to understand it.

    This is where my app comes in. I want to create what is basically a creative commoms image-gathering tool that uses geo-location to tag submitted photographs to a specific place. The user would be able to submit photos from their phone, tag them to a specific place or let the geo-tagging do it for them, label or caption the photo, then look at other photos in the same location, or search by location to see photos from that area. There would be an option to give more information or context to a particular photo (create a caption), and also to add relative links. The links would give the user the ability to use the images to find more concrete information or news about that place. For example, if an picture was taken at a restaurant, the link could be to their website or yelp reviews. If it was of an event, it could be the event page, artist page, venue page, etc.

    In it’s simplicity, the app would offer a search, and similar to Everyblock the user could type in a zip code or neighborhood to see photos. A more ambitious goal for this app would be to integrate it into community journalism, like one would integrate flickr, except all of my app’s photos will have geolocation tag and be used in that context. A local news site would be able to pull the photos using their location and connect them to stories or blog-posts, instead of asking readers to submit photos into a flickr pool to be sorted through for relevance. Hopefully it would make it easier for everyone to learn more about a place by being able to see it right off that bat, without much digging, and would make community and citizen journalism more if not as robust as mainstream media, where photographers are hired and sent on assignment. The app really stands on the idea that anyone with a phone can be a journalist, but seeks to solidify that journalism by adding photographs, which are more easily understood and more quickly verifiable than words.

  5. Chelsea
    April 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

    My application is based around the website The Local Beet, a popular website for the local food/organic community that doesn’t have a mobile application. The website currently has four main sections: Blogs, Forum, RSS feeds, and Features. My application would pull from this information that already exists on the web, package it to be better accessible for a mobile application, as well as add a few more features unique to mobile platform. The main feature of the application will be the feeds of original content that come from The Local Beet. There will be an option to subscribe to all feeds, or choose which ones are most relevant to the user. The application will also include the forum feature of the website, which will allow users to share information with others and connect with their community.
    The first mobile only feature will be that weekly, one feature story will be featured on the application. The user can preview clips of past features that have been archived and of course have the option to read full versions of each feature. The second component is a GPS locater for the nearest farmers market or local/organic food store or restaurant. This will use a map to pin point the nearest locations as well as have the option of viewing them in a list. The last mobile-unique feature is a feed of news and blogs based on location. If your phone’s GPS recognizes you are in a certain neighborhood where a story was just written about a new rooftop garden, for example, that story will come up first in this location- specific feed.
    I’m choosing the iphone platform as a starting point because I’m more familiar with and prefer their interface. Also with the iphone4 and AT&T now carrying iphone, I can see there being a rise in users in the near future.

  6. Joanna Wesoly
    May 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Since the internet is accessible and in the palm of our hands, that means there are more and more websites and blogs to check out. Personally, every morning or throughout the day if I don’t have the time, I go to a variety of websites to catch up on the news and see what’s happening. Sometimes it can be a pain to go from one website to another and I just want it all in one place. So, for my proposed app, I will be designing something that is suitable for everyone. It will be an app that is customized to that user and from there, it will essentially be a live feed. The user, in the beginning, will be able to add as many different websites that they want on the app so they can all get it in one place. These websites don’t have to have their own apps for this one to work because the app will take you directly to the website. Once the user customizes their app and starts using it, there will be a live feed straight from those chosen websites. For the websites that did not make it on the users custom list, they can always be accessed through the search button. There will be another spot for the user to upload to twitter, Facebook or use any social media they want. This will be a constantly updated app and be used all the time be anyone. It will also be available on any smartphone.

  7. May 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Testing Results:

    [Note: None of the testers wanted to be filmed due to risking “looking stupid on camera”. I respected their requests.]

    Each of my testers agreed that the features included in my application were all very useful. The testers decided to test the app as a group, but I was still able to get a lot of feedback. One feature that was highly popular with the testers was the ability to geotag audio recordings. Jon, one of the testers, said that including each recording’s geolocation would make fact checking much simpler for journalists. He told me that editors would love this application to confirm whether or not a reporter actually conducted his or her interviews at the location they claimed to be at.

    Another tester, Stacy, asked if there was a way to turn the location services off, and at the moment, I did not include that feature on my paper prototype. However, I instead of making a whole new page for settings, I just added a toggle button in the recording menu that allows users to easily turn location on and off. Another question asked was whether this application would connect to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but currently, the only way to export recordings is through email. I was thinking of a cloud service for users, but the testers said that signing up for another service might discourage people from getting the app. I would also have to think about if I was going to use an existing service like Google Docs or create a new service.

    The transcriptions were the next popular feature among the testers. Each person especially like how it was easy to edit the text with a simple touch of the screen. The audio editing received the least amount of attention, mainly because these were students testing the app and wanted things to be as simple as possible. The addition of a tutorial video was helpful, but with data streaming, the video could consume more data than necessary and have a longer loading time.

    Photo Documentation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61684959@N07/sets/72157626525827465/show/

  8. May 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    The first two times I tested my prototype the major feedback I received helped me to improve my word choice. This experienced echoed my testing with the app for Worldview. In this case I changed button for the most spotted individuals: it originally was titled ‘socialites’ but was changed to ‘who’s out’ after discussions with multiple people in my community. This name change helped to steer the app away from being too hollywood-centric or female oriented. The other major word choice that came out of the first two testing sessions was changing the apps versions of Foursquare’s mayor from winner to top dog. Everyone I talked too agreed that winner sounded too Charlie Sheen and that using top dog would help to encourage use of the app with males. Hopefully this name change would also increase the recording of male dominated categories so celebrities locations (such as sports stars).

    The third time I tested my app I realized it was lacking a major feature: a search on the main page. This feature is especially important for those who will use this app to find out about venues that their favorite celebrity loves, especially those who are vacationing in an unfamiliar city. The fourth time I tested my app my friend who is a foursquare lover pointed out to me that foursquare informs you of how many other people are at the venue you check into and posts pictures of them. We decided that this would be an important feature in this app on the main page of a venue and added it in. They also recommended that when you are searching for anything there should be a drop down box where the user can choose how many miles away from them they want to search (2, 10, 20, ect). Thankfully, my 5th test went very smoothly. Thanks to all the previous corrections I made I received feedback that my app was “easy to understand and led me in the right direction.”

    photos (i don’t have video on my phone):
    http://img600.imageshack.us/i/photoulz.jpg/
    http://img36.imageshack.us/i/photoode.jpg/

  9. Eric Witt
    May 4, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Though this is a simple app, I have realized that this is a little more involved than I had originally realized. I was able to have 4 friends test my app and I had each write a small paragraph on their suggestions and experience with my paper prototype.

    Ricky D: The idea for the Show Portal app is brilliant in my opinion. It allows any music fan to essentially view a concert vicariously through someone else. There are many times when fans can’t afford to go to shows or their favorite band doesn’t tour near the city they live in, this would allow them to at least see them play live. I found the navigation throughout the app to be fairly simple and quick. Every page within the Show Portal app had a purpose and substance. I only have a couple suggestions, the first being that when returning from the concert video streaming page, it should take you the Live/Archive/Recent Video list page instead of the Watch page. Another suggestion I have is to somehow link the Friends list to Facebook as well as expanding the refine search button on the Live/Archive/Recent Video list page. Overall, the app is a great idea.

    Here is a summary of a conversation among 4 others who are, in my opinion, very tech savvy (Mikael thomas, Eric Bierheisen, Corey Wilson and Chris Elliot). We sat down and I showed them the app and they all helped give me input to amount to this lengthy two paragraphs on suggestions and problems with the app.

    Within the friends tab perhaps you should include a “Favorites”. This app could also potentially link to Facebook to allow for easy posts of the shows and how to connect. It should also be linked into Facebook so it can store your favorites and automatically get your friends especially if your friends have the app they could download the third party software to integrate it into Facebook and create automatic tags based on your destination business location via GPS so it can post a picture of the show, you should manually enter the name of the show for the post and allow it to quickly display for all your friends a picture of the show the name and place as soon as you start the recording. It should be in settings so you can define how the app will operate with Facebook and whether it should prompt to enter a show name before you start recording so it can immediately post it to Facebook. You could have the app link in with SMS and have it text certain friends when you arrive or if you are planning to leave. You could have some preset default messages for these. You could include a calendar to allow you to post your set date and invite people for an event ahead of time, the event being you going to see this concert and allowing your friends to tune in. So if someone is going to a concert and recording it and you want to save some cash that would be good. It should provide a method of downloading the moments to your phone. Possibly include a refine search button on the Friends page or a combo box that allows the user to filter friends by people they know from Facebook, people in their phone, or just people they met at the concerts. It should certainly record the moment on the persons’ phone for their own private use as well.

    The biggest problems of this prototype can be solved by uploading the streaming information to a server, even then I imagine it would still be laggy regardless but also that would prevent the big security risk of connecting directly to the persons’ phone and having so many concurrent connections, I imagine your phone would freeze. The app should be the most basic interface to get what you need done and with appropriate division of the entire page providing the most clean cut user interface possible to add for ease of use and productivity. Also you should save into memory the last window that was opened to allow the user to momentarily or however long they please to be able to suspend the application or better to keep the application running in the background while the person uses their phone. This should be an option given to them in the settings (whether to suspend (pause), run in background, or logout and clean memory.) Within the tab of friends should be favorites. I might suggest removing the ShowPortal banner / logo from the top of the screen as it is unneeded and just wastes priceless room. If you feel you need advertising create a splash screen and create delay before using the app. If your app was worth contribution then you could use this in addition to ads to be displayed for more profit. Need back buttons in top right corner of the screen. You should remove the Shows button page and move the live archive and recent onto the main display of watch. Settings should not be located within the user interface of the app itself but through IPhone settings. Allow swiping the screen to the right and left while in “Live, Archive or Recent” to navigate through these pages. Allow the “Selected profile” page’s middle bar (“shows”) and just change the middle bar’s text to { ’s Shows } to be dragged up to the top so more shows can be displayed.

  10. Eric Witt
    May 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    App Pitch (because it was originally lost)

    As i stated in class, my app is going to be a portal to allow others to see shows live, and also allows others to watch concerts live through their friends and other users. Though this would be a copyright infringement nightmare, we’re going to ignore this. The app could specify where people are in the crowd, what venue, what song, and what band.

    In addition people could also share funny videos from shows of various things, people and places they come across. It would be viewed the same as any other video – from the database.

    Also, the “friends” section would essentially be a social networking aggregate that would allow users to share events, videos and thoughts/comments.

  11. Chelsea
    May 5, 2011 at 6:16 am

    My testing process for this app went a lot smoother than the other apps we’ve made before. I tried to consider as much as I could from what we learned with presenting out apps to Chicago Public Radio. Since I created my app idea from a website that already exists, one of the main things I kept in mind was reusing content to make the app as easy to create and upkeep as possible. All of the content I have in the application is content taken from the website. The other major thing I considered is keeping all the features very simple. I tried to make things more visual based rather than text based, so people would be able to move throughout the app more quickly.
    One of the main issues I ran into was labeling buttons in the best way possible so people know what they do. I wanted the buttons like “back” “Add” and “more” to be very small and not really a major part of the application. This means that I was using symbols as opposed to words to label them. I think in the end I came up with pretty universal and easy to understand symbols, but at first it took people a minute to get them right. I also think that seeing these on an actual iphone, rather than paper, would’ve helped that process for the users.

  12. April Hornsby
    May 5, 2011 at 7:53 am

    My app was the A.P. App, which would scan a document to for A.P. correctness. This app was difficult for me because I didn’t know at first how I would make the app look. I knee what the end result of the app would be, but I didn’t know how to get to the point of beginning and exactly how the app would work or what it should contain. Finally after some testing I believe I have a menu that works although I believe it could still use some fine-tuning. At first I was using a big dumb arrow that said download. It looked absolutely ridiculous to my test subjects and me. So I came up with a menu inspired from the Google doc’s app. This app helped me organize my ideas and helped me name the icons reasonably although I think this too can be refined. All in all, my test subjects were very responsive to the corrections of the documents. They loved the fact that they could be absolutely lazy and auto correct the document or those they could actually click to learn the mistake they were making. Another part of the app they were so/so about was how to download a doc onto the phone. Some liked to sync from the computer, others enjoyed being able to grab it from the email. At first, my process was way too long when trying to download from an email. So I believed I simplified it by taking one of the menu options out I had at first. I think the app I came up with is solid. I believe it will be a helpful tool for the users of this app.

  13. Joanna Wesoly
    May 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    The testing process for this app went better than the previous time. One reason was due to the fact that I actually made ‘Back’ buttons! My app is called, ‘All in One,’ which is a place a user can go and access all of their websites in one place instead of going to various different websites online. I tested this before I showed the paper prototype in class and I also tested it after while I was making some changes. I didn’t have too many glitches in my first attempt at the testing process. The people that tested didn’t really know what to do with the custom buttons and why there were so many choices, but I wanted to have that custom part be a big part of the app. That was one of my problems after I showed the prototype in class. Also, I didn’t realize that the app resembled a lot of a bookmarks page on a mobile device so I had to change that. After changing my app a little bit (along with some other changes, I added a live feed of what had been recently updated as well as making the customization part not so big), I tested it again and it went a little bit more smoothly. There were no questions about where to go next or where to go to see the main page to get to the websites. The only thing I still need to change is some way to link and share a webpage from the actual website.

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