Have you ever had this absolutely awesome idea, started down the road of doing it to only discover that it was a really stupid idea to start with.
That was me six weeks ago.
A relaxing weekend, sitting on the lounge near the fire, TV humming in the background, the usual lazy weekend (we don’t actually have lazy weekends but on this occasion it was sort of surreal) with the kids on mobile devices. There I was, mobile device in hand.
I had previously completed my research and decided that I could take on the challenge of completing an education degree. Then it occurred to me that if my kids could do everything they needed on a mobile device, then I should be able to do the same.
So I started enrolling in my university degree.
Success, the university entrance website is mobile friendly. Absolutely nailed it while sitting on the lounge, no laptop, just me and my iPhone. For all they knew, I could have been sitting at the beach in Bali or on the deck of a cruise ship heading to Vanuatu.
Failure, I had to provide all my documents as proof of identity etc. So for the first time in my university study experience I had to go back to a PC, scan, PDF and upload the documents. The document up-loader wouldn’t let me upload to a mobile device. Lucky I wasn’t on the cruise ship after all, the cost to transfer the PDF documents at cruise ship internet prices would have meant drinking water the rest of the cruise and only eating at the free buffet.
Ok, I can live with that.
Lets move on.
A week or so later my phone makes that warm comforting sound you hear when you know someone cares about you or the battery is about to go flat. Either way, my university application was approved and that was it – I was on my way.
Now I’m going to stop here and explain a few things.
Firstly, I’m not assuming that you can or even should be able to study a degree on a mobile device. I’m also not assuming that anyone would ever want to complete their studies on a mobile device. But let’s say I had a fancy smartphone that already cost me $1000+, should I have to buy a computer as well just so I can upload PDF documents or should technology just work.
I am in no way criticising the organisation that I am studying at, I want to pass…
What I am doing is looking constructively at where the issues are with technology and what may need to be done in each case to make the dream of a smartphone actually making you smarter.
I have a lot more to write about and you may be extremely surprised about some of the discoveries I have already made in this experience. If you are interested then keep following my posts and I will keep you updated.
As I delve into this experience I am documenting the user experience in the hope that it will help improve the experience for future students and also give teachers and educational technology consultants some food for thought.
In summary of post number one:
A site being ‘mobile friendly’ just because a mobile phone can render the page correctly, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is actually usable by the user. You may need to consider the whole process a user is required to complete in your application and how they can achieve this without switching technologies and this will make your application truly mobile USER friendly.