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Design for Mobile Content / Mobile Applications
The assessment tasks for this module are:
1) Design and produce two mobile projects.
2) User-test and evaluate them.
3) Demonstrate the projects and present your user-based evaluation to the tutors in two
Deadlines and Submission Instructions:
• Finalise a project specification with one of the tutors by Friday 24th October.
• Hand in a completed project on CD with full installation instructions as well as a
working URL, if available, to the general office before 4pm on Monday 1st
December. You should also include your presentational material on the CD (e.g.
PowerPoint slides or notes) and a bibliography detailing any sources used.
• A zipped version of all the above should also be uploaded to Blackboard (the
University’s Virtual Learning Environment) for the same deadline. When uploading,
the file must be named like this – “Robison-David-Project1” (Surname-First name-
• Please leave time within your schedule to user-test your application.
• Presentations will take place during the week beginning 1st of December, specific
times to be confirmed later.
• The particulars for the second project are the same as the first, but the dates are as
Project Specification: Friday 12th December
Project Submission: Friday 9th of January
Demonstration: From 9th of January onwards (to be confirmed)
There are a number of ways that you can approach the coursework for this module depending
on your background, expertise and areas of interest. This brief is deliberately open-ended,
and we hope that you will see this as an opportunity for development in an area relevant to
your own educational pathway.
We do not specify which technology you should use – it is up to you. However – it
must be a mobile application you produce (i.e. something that works on a mobile or
mobile emulator). Advice on choosing technologies is given overleaf.
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Advice on Choosing technologies for your project:
Note: The technical words in this section will be explained as the course progresses.
XHTML MP (eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language – Mobile Profile for WAP 2.0 phones) or
a combination of this and WML is most likely what you will be coding this kind of project in.
Whatever technology you choose, the main thing is that you justify your choice in your
presentation and explain what kind of phones you are developing for and why.
You may wish to plug XHTML MP into a database to deliver content using PHP, ASP or JSP.
You could decide to develop in Java for mobiles (J2ME). This is a popular option for games
and for applications that can be installed on a phone. It is more technically complex than
Web-style development at the outset, particularly if you have never encountered Java or
Object Oriented programming before (but do note – Mobile Web applications also bring many
challenges and shouldn’t be seen as an ‘easy option’).
You could use Flashlite for Mobile phones, this is a version of Flash designed for limited
capacity devices with a Flashlite player installed. Microsoft technologies are also a popular
option – to develop for a Windows mobile or Pocket PC, or you could investigate an entirely
different method of mobile application development (providing you confirm this with a course
tutor first and that appropriate resources are available).
The choice is yours. However, if you don’t have extensive programming knowledge then my
advice is to stick with Web technologies (WML, XHTML MP, CSS) at first and learn your
chosen language to the best of your ability. Focus more on design, navigation and usability
issues. Mobile video might also be an area worth investigating.
Non Original Code:
It is acceptable to plug in bits of example code taken from the Web tutorials or elsewhere into
your projects. The key proviso if you do this is that you REFERENCE ANY NON-ORIGINAL
CODE. Do this thoroughly and clearly in both the code itself and in a bibliography (to be
submitted at your presentation), or you could be seriously penalised for plagiarism, as
happened to several students last year.
Information on referencing is available here:
You should include references in your PowerPoints or your presentation documentation,
which is to be submitted with your project.
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Concepts from previous student projects:
Students developed a range of innovative projects last year including -
A mobile based appointments system for lecturers and tutees
Student Housing service – search and see pictures of properties and rate based on
Sports services (e.g. a Basketball league application detailing teams, players, league
details and scores)
Online turn-based role-playing game
J2ME games – from Pacman to ‘Mobigonchi’ (a kind of ‘Tamigochi’ for the mobile)
Flashlite movie trailers and reviews service
Bluetooth social networking application, written in J2ME
These are just a few ideas – the successful projects focussed not just on technical aspects
but on usability, visual design and concept aspects as well, taking an integrated approach to
Some other ideas from the “Android project” are available here, if you are stuck for ideas:
At the very least your project should demonstrate the following:
• Several functioning pages and operations for Mobile Web, or working options within
• Successful linking and numerous navigation options between these items (a usable
• Considerate formatting of text and images
• Consideration of user interface
• User-testing and iterative improvements based on feedback from user-testing
More advanced projects will aim to achieve some of the following:
• Use of video or audio
• Innovative thinking in terms of what constitutes a ‘mobile application’
• Very well thought out layout and navigation
• Excellent, workable, application idea
• Use of Cascading Style Sheets, Templates or advanced layout techniques
• Taking your site to a level beyond those areas discussed in class (e.g. implementing
complex scripting, more advanced J2ME or plugging the site into other programming
• Database applications
• Larger scale sites with serious application possibilities
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Coursework marks breakdown
Project One (50%)
Project Specification 1 (5%):
The first assessment task is for you to produce a project specification. The
specification should be clearly written on approximately 2 sides of A4. In your project
specification you should:
• Detail and describe your project idea stating why you think it’s specifically
suitable for a mobile device
• Describe your content and design ideas
• Produce a simple diagram of the site/application
• State the technology platforms you intend to use
• Produce a workflow schedule
• Describe your intended usability testing methods
This is a document that illustrates to the tutor that your project is on track and
provides a basis for feedback.
Application 1 (30%):
Content and visual design 10%
Sophistication and innovation (of code and ideas) 10%
Usability includes how easily the user can ‘move around’ an application. For a game
this would include ‘playability’, for a banking application this would mean ease of use.
Usability is particularly important for mobiles because the interface is often much
more limited than a PC.
Content and visual design covers how attractive the application is (within the limited
context of the mobile screen) and the appropriateness/usefulness of the content for a
mobile device and a mobile user. Not all applications need to be visually stunning,
but they do need to communicate effectively and contain useful resources for a user.
Sophistication and innovation is how far you’ve taken your mobile learning and
demonstrated this in the project. You can gain marks here for a sophisticated
approach to the project in terms of coding – or of taking a conceptually innovative
approach with the project.
Presentation Interview 1 (15%):
Summary description of how you made the project 5%
Evaluation of working project, including user testing 10%
You will be given 25 minutes to demonstrate the project to the tutors and discuss the
evaluation feedback from users that you have produced. Your time will be strictly
limited. You will be given a scheduled time for your presentations. If you attend late,
you will receive a zero mark.
You should discuss briefly the process of constructing your project. But most
importantly, you should evaluate your project in terms of the marking criteria set in
the section above.
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In evaluating your project an emphasis should be placed on user testing, which
in this context means getting a small focus-group together to use your site, recording
their responses and drawing conclusions from this evidence (rather than just your
own opinions) about how effective the product is. This information should be
presented in summary form in the interview.
Project Two (50%):
The second project follows the same guidelines as Project One. The main difference
is that your second project and presentation should reflect your greater knowledge or
advancements in exploration of the subjects you are studying.
It is acceptable to further develop your original project for the second project,
providing you can clearly illustrate which aspects of the work have been updated and
added to for version two. More information about Project Two will be given in
Tutor consultation and communication
The tutors below are available for consultation (please book this in advance using e-mail).
We are happy to clarify anything about the way your project will be marked or how
appropriate your choice of project is – before, during and after you embark on it. The only
times we are likely to be less helpful are immediately before your deadlines.
Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment – http://blackboard.brad.ac.uk – will be the area
where you upload work for submission.
Notes are uploaded to the following website: www.mobilitystudies.com/masters.
David Robison (Content development, usability and context) email@example.com
Office: Chesham B2.16
Jules Pagna Disso (J2ME, Flashlite and technical programming)
j.f.pagnadisso@Bradford.ac.uk – Jules is now the official module associate and can help you
with any queries you may have via e-mail.