Class Work Week 2: Unpacking An App Excercise 1: Western

Information Architecture:

What is included in the app? List the tools and modules in order:

  • maps, directory, events, emergency, vUWS, MyIT, students, central, library, shuttle, help, services, wellbeing, careers, grad life, videos, news, residence, books, food, social, summer, clubs, and sport.

Personally, I feel as if the tools and modules have been organized by most likely to be used to least likely to be used. However, I feel as if it would be more beneficial to categorize these modules into three simple categories; Social, Services, and Necessities. This ensures that the app doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as there is more room to breathe.

Site flow vs User flow

Site maps show everything and are used to help developers and designers make sure that they are on the same page.

User flow is the steps that a user would perform to complete a task on a website or during a UX process.

An example of site flow map on Western Sydney App:

Maps -> Parramatta train station -> Parramatta South Campus -> Class Room 6B

An example of user flow on Western Sydney App:

site flow

User Interface (UI):

Is the app easy to use? 

Apart from the app feels a little cluttering it wasn’t all too bad to navigate and was in fact, quite easy to follow along and find what I need.

Any suggestions?

The only suggestions I would have would be to categorize each tool and module.

Visual Design:

How do you describe the visual design?

I really like the icons that the app uses for each module. However, I believe the maroon is used too much on the main screen and could be toned down to match the rest of the app.

Does it match the university’s brand image?

Yes, the app does indeed match the university’s brand image and represents the university quite well.

What improvements could be made?

Rather than have the app have pages on the home screen, instead it could just have a scroll down option for easier navigation.

Lecture 1: What is App Design?

What is an app? 

“App” is the abbreviation for the word application. Apps are pieces of software that usually runs on computers, phones, tablets, televisions and other electronic devices. Apps are typically usable while offline nut there are some which need online access. Apps typically are either made to help a user or to aid another program or application.


The three types of apps:

Web App (HTML)

A web app is an app which runs it’s user interface on a web browser. Common web apps include email, online stores, streaming services and messaging services. Web apps can only be accessed when online.

Pros

  • Can easily and quickly make your information available for mobile devices.
  • Only needs to be made once and will be available for all platforms.

Cons

  • Very little to no user experience
  • Poor performance, lengthy load times and can’t be used in offline or with low internet speeds
  • Apps are main stream and are becoming the more popular option due to most devices supporting apps eg. Android, Apple and Windows 8 tablets

Hybrid

Hybrid apps use a combination of elements from both Native and Web apps. A Hybrid app is most commonly a Native app that contains Web Apps inside of them, an example of this would be apps that stream directly from websites and apps that use information from a website.

Pros

  • An App
  • Creates space to allow the developer to bridge the gap between native apps and web apps
  • Positive for developers who have some background web development skills

Cons

  • Poor performance, lengthy load times and can’t be used in offline or with low internet speeds
  • No unique functions that users expect in a mobile experience

Native

Native apps are applications are made for particular devices and/or operating systems, and run directly on these systems without the need of a web browser. Some examples of this on a mobile device would be the note app, the calendar app, and the camera app. Native apps generally do not need the use of internet connectivity to function.

Pros

  • The UI and UX can be created to be smooth and engaging
  • The app can be optimised to suit the device rather than having to worry about suitability to all platforms
  • Faster and smoother loading than web apps
  • Performance is much better
  • Can be used regardless of internet connectivity
  • Much better brand image and individuality
  • Superior security compared to HTML5

Cons 

  • Each platform requires it’s own development
  • Due to the process in which the app is made, it can be expensive and time consuming
  • Can be expensive to also build upon

What type of apps are there?

  • Utility
  • Entertainment
  • Games
  • News
  • Productivity
  • Social Networking

Reflection

In this lecture I have learned that there are actually three different types of websites. It made sense to me and seemed pretty straight forward once I learnt that and I understood quite quickly between the difference of the three soon after. I feel like learning this was important as I know which path to take when making different types of apps.