Reflections on HelloPurr, App Development and DC Comics, EDTECH 597 Week 3

I have found throughout the last several weeks of being in this EDTECH 597/ mobile app design class that I have a discrepancy in my skill sets. On the one hand, because of my background in traditional design—newspapers, magazines, etc—I can see the great potential in mobile apps and how they could help revitalize and change the design industry. On the other hand, since I haven’t owned an actual phone in several years, opting to use Skype on my computer instead, I’m finding that there’s a learning curve for the new technology. My computer can’t find the drivers to recognize my computer, I don’t always know how to retrieve my messages from my phone, apps that I really love take up a lot of my phone’s resources, etc.

As frustrating as this has been for me, it also occurs to me that the experience is useful. It will help me be more compassionate with clients as I work through the design process. Technology can be scary to people. Hopefully, the experience of doing this will enable me to better help them through the process of design.

It has also allowed me to look at the design principles that I do find valuable (from other media) and carry them over to app development. One stands out in particular, and that is the ability to click on an icon and be taken back to the main page of the app. Many of my apps don’t have this feature, and it frustrates me, because at this juncture I usually just have to go back to my phone’s homepage and try again. So far the one that frustrates me the most is the DC Comics app. It usually takes me down a maze with no ability to back track if I accidentally hit a wrong button. Since I love graphic novels and love DC in particular this frustrates me to no end. It also makes me wonder how it can be that organizations/ businesses like this that are design-oriented by the nature of what they do struggle so much when it comes to usability design. I guess it just goes to show that we all have blind spots in this age of ever-changing technology.

I was speaking to a friend of mine about this issue. He happens to work in instructional design, and he assured me that  I would learn this part of the design process in the course of my studies. He spoke about it in terms of user-interface design/ user-experience (UX UI). I have been exposed to this concept of design before in another class at the undergraduate level. It was the first time that I was introduced to the idea that design should be both pretty and functional, and I’m hoping to train myself to look for that element in design. While I learned in my newspaper days that design should actually look pretty, because it makes people stop and pick up newspapers (or read websites or try mobile apps in this day and age), it also should do something more. I will be mindful of that as I move forward.

Just for a visual record, the screenshot of my HelloPurr app is below.

HelloPurr app, assignment one in EDTECH 597, mobile app development class