Learning with mobile devices: a microportal design experience

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    06-Jan-2016

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Learning with mobile devices: a microportal design experience. Overview. What is a microportal? Why do we need a microportal? Design criteria Design considerations Some current mobile devices A microportal snapshot Mobile devices used Performance evaluation criteria - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Learning with mobile devices: a microportal design experienceIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?OverviewWhat is a microportal?Why do we need a microportal?Design criteriaDesign considerationsSome current mobile devicesA microportal snapshotMobile devices usedPerformance evaluation criteriaDiscussion lessons learnedSummaryIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?What is a microportal?A microportal is a small version of a portal designed to run on mobile devicesA portal is a web site hosted with portal software that allows for:Aggregation of different back end systems, processes or websites brought together via a single portal page.It commonly provides personalisation of contentAnd hosts the presentation layer of information systems e.g. portlets.Is the Internet as handy as we'd like ?Why do we need a microportal?Mobile devices have become truly ubiquitous with 1.52 billion users in September, 2004A microportal can take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to present learning materialLearning content can be aggregated from different websites, back-end syastems, personalised, and a single sign-on usedIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?The design criteria?The software must be adaptableThe software must be extensibleThe software must be intelligentMust render well on disparate devicesIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?What are the design considerations?A resource allocation problem in which the utility value of the content must be maximised subject to some constraintsConsiderations for calculating the utility value are: Informational content Cost Design metricsRelevanceIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?Some current mobile devicesIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ? A microportal snapshotIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?Mobile devices usedNokia Communicator 9210 running EPOC32 Handspring TREO 270 running Palm OS 3.x SPV Orange Smart Phone running windows CE O2 XDA PDA running Micrsoft Pocket PC 2002 Palm Tungsten T, running Palm OS 5 Is the Internet as handy as we'd like ?Performance evaluation criteriaImage RenderingThe the speed of loading a web page The ease of content navigation within the microportal The overall (albeit subjective) quality of the page. Is the Internet as handy as we'd like ?Discussion - Lessons LearnedNo empirical data was used to compare rendering timesIn terms of overall performance:Ericsson P800O2 XDA Nokia Communicatorthe Palm Tungsten T and the SPV Orange Smartphone Handspring Treo 270 Phones with resolutions of 160x160 or less are no good for content adaptation and renderingIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?SummaryThe unprecedented growth in mobile device usage has created an opportunity to use mobile devices for learning.Software adapted to different mobile devices needs to be developed, accessible via a microportalIs the Internet as handy as we'd like ?SummaryAdaptable, extensible & intelligent sofware has been developed for a microportal The design considerations and constrainsts have been discussed.Mobile devices hold out a good prospect for learning via microportals.Is the Internet as handy as we'd like ?. Designing software for different mobile devices is a resource allocation problem in which the utility value of the content presented is maximised, subject to some constraints [5]. The main constraints used by existing web-content adaptation engines are the display resolution i.e. the display size, colour-depth and the ability to display certain types of web objects such as Flash files, animated gifs, and MP3 files. Some of the considerations taken into account to calculate the utility of the content are:Informational Content When items are being converted to less resource intensive forms, it is often the case that the information content of the items is reduced and therefore needs to be accounted for [8]. A good example of this is that images can only be shrunk so far before they become of no use [9].Cost Mobile telephone operators in the United Kingdom (UK), charge GPRS/3G users on the amount of the data downloaded in kilobytes. Therefore, when adapting content to be displayed on a mobile device, the cost needs to be taken into account in terms of the number of embedded images and their sizes, for example.Design Metrics These are measures relating to composition (e.g. word count, link count), formatting (e.g. emphasized text, positioning) and other general characteristics of web pages (e.g. total bytes) [10]. The presentation of web-content such as the amount of text emphasis and the number of colours used, needs to be considered in calculating the utility of the adapted content. Research carried out by Scott and Koh demonstrated that mobile device (i.e. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)) web pages have different design metrics compared to Personal Computer (PC) web pages [11].Relevance Determining if an item really needs to be included in a web page is very subjective depending on who is viewing it and thus difficult to factor in a design. However, it is important and some research done in this area has used click stream analysis [12] and the determination of an items purpose e.g. navigation, advertisement, content or maybe the item is just for decorative purposes [13].Figure 3 shows one of the mobile devices, i.e. an O2 XDA accessing a users microportal. When the user has been authenticated by the system, their mobile device is also detected during authentication and stored in a session object. The microportal is created dynamically by reading their data from the database and filling in some generic template using a servlet to produce a microportal as the one shown in Figure 3. The software has been designed in an adaptable and intelligent way so as to detect various types of mobile devices accessing the server and to format or adapt the content to fit the particular device capabilities. Several user accounts were created at Ultralab, Anglia Polytechnic University, to test access to the site with very positive results. The criteria used to evaluate the devices were image rendering, the speed of loading a web page, the ease of navigating within the microportal and the overall (albeit subjective) quality of the page. In terms of the image rendering, the best results were observed on the Sony Ericsson P800, O2 XDA, the Palm Tungsten T and the SPV Orange Smartphone respectively. The Nokia communicator 9210 was acceptable and the worst results in terms of image rendering were observed on the Handspring Treo 270. In terms of the speed with which the web pages were loaded, there didnt seem to be any appreciable difference after logging onto the web site. However, the Windows based devices i.e. the O2 XDA and the SPV Orange Smart phones seemed to take rather a long time in getting a connection established with the web server on which the web content was stored. In terms of navigating the content once logged onto the site, the two mobile devices with the styluses i.e. the Sony Ericsson P800 and the O2 XDA in that order, were much easier to use, making the overall experience much more fun. Although the Handspring Treo 270 also has a stylus, because of its inability to render images properly, it was a bit awkward to use. The Nokia Communicator 9210 was the next best device in terms of content navigation, followed by the SPV Orange Smart phone. The best overall device for accessing the content and rendering the microportal was the Sony Ericsson P800, followed by the O2 XDA. The Nokia Communicator also performed well, but the weight and size of the device makes it more like a laptop rather than a mobile device, although it is a mobile phone. The most awkward device to use was the SPV Smart phone because of it lack of stylus and small keypad with awkward keys for navigation. However, the SPV rendered the pages as well as the O2 XDA, but fell short on the navigation side. It would appear that screen resolutions of 160x160 or lower, are not really worth using to render web page content. The device characteristics like resolution, web browser type, etc, were stored in a database to allow rapid creation of the microportal from the same code and not have different software for each device. So if a new device was introduced, there would be minimal change to the code i.e. add the device type, resolution etc, to the database and add a small section to the code to detect that device type. This is one of the advantages of using Java as it is an object oriented language and is extensible and easy to modify. The initial trend of mobile phones in terms of the design was to make them smaller, with a small screen and very light in weight. However, as third generation applications are being developed, it is apparent that very small screen sizes are not very useful for viewing multimedia content and so the trend now is to design phones that are smart, i.e. smartphones, converging towards the standard (PDA) size i.e. the Sony Ericsson P800, with web browser capability and screen resolutions of at least 200x200 pixels, or higher. This is a good trend as it makes software design easier and user experience more enjoyable.We did not collect any empirical data to compare the time it takes to load a page and render an image as the devices have different memory sizes and different processor architectures and speeds. Several user accounts were created at Ultralab, Anglia Polytechnic University, to test access to the site with very positive results. The criteria used to evaluate the devices were image rendering, the speed of loading a web page, the ease of navigating within the microportal and the overall (albeit subjective) quality of the page. In terms of the image rendering, the best results were observed on the Sony Ericsson P800, O2 XDA, the Palm Tungsten T and the SPV Orange Smartphone respectively. The Nokia communicator 9210 was acceptable and the worst results in terms of image rendering were observed on the Handspring Treo 270. In terms of the speed with which the web pages were loaded, there didnt seem to be any appreciable difference after logging onto the web site. However, the Windows based devices i.e. the O2 XDA and the SPV Orange Smart phones seemed to take rather a long time in getting a connection established with the web server on which the web content was stored. In terms of navigating the content once logged onto the site, the two mobile devices with the styluses i.e. the Sony Ericsson P800 and the O2 XDA in that order, were much easier to use, making the overall experience much more fun. Although the Handspring Treo 270 also has a stylus, because of its inability to render images properly, it was a bit awkward to use. The Nokia Communicator 9210 was the next best device in terms of content navigation, followed by the SPV Orange Smart phone. The best overall device for accessing the content and rendering the microportal was the Sony Ericsson P800, followed by the O2 XDA. The Nokia Communicator also performed well, but the weight and size of the device makes it more like a laptop rather than a mobile device, although it is a mobile phone. The most awkward device to use was the SPV Smart phone because of it lack of stylus and small keypad with awkward keys for navigation. However, the SPV rendered the pages as well as the O2 XDA, but fell short on the navigation side. It would appear that screen resolutions of 160x160 or lower, are not really worth using to render web page content. The device characteristics like resolution, web browser type, etc, were stored in a database to allow rapid creation of the microportal from the same code and not have different software for each device. So if a new device was introduced, there would be minimal change to the code i.e. add the device type, resolution etc, to the database and add a small section to the code to detect that device type. This is one of the advantages of using Java as it is an object oriented language and is extensible and easy to modify. The initial trend of mobile phones in terms of the design was to make them smaller, with a small screen and very light in weight. However, as third generation applications are being developed, it is apparent that very small screen sizes are not very useful for viewing multimedia content and so the trend now is to design phones that are smart, i.e. smartphones, converging towards the standard (PDA) size i.e. the Sony Ericsson P800, with web browser capability and screen resolutions of at least 200x200 pixels, or higher. This is a good trend as it makes software design easier and user experience more enjoyable.We did not collect any empirical data to compare the time it takes to load a page and render an image as the devices have different memory sizes and different processor architectures and speeds.

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