This week I have worked on my mobile applications general user interface.

Before I even started to design anything I had to think about the user and the organization that i’m developing this application for.

I had a good talk with Dawn who is the person in charge of this application on Southland family works side (my client) during this meeting I asked a number of questions to help with development of this app.


Q.Who will use this application?

A.Young families , People needing help with babies , young children. Please note that not all people using this application will be be able to read to a high standard.

Q.What age range?

A.18 – 30


Q.What features are needed in this application, social media , phone features , etc ?

A.The application is going to link of to information on web pages. There is no need for social media incorporation that this stage.


Q.Does Southland family works have a style guide?

A.We currently have have a style guide under development and will be ready around 25th of august.


Q.Are there any websites / mobile applications style that you like?

A. Haven’t looked.

Information hierarchy

Dawn sent me the content that had been gathered by Southland Family Works.

The document was a bit rough and needed organisation. I read through the 13 page document and created a hierarchy.

I organised the information into a three tier hierarchy. I choose three tier due to the amount of links this document had. A three tier hierarchy would allow the information to be navigated a lot more easier and ease of use its very important for this application.

Below is a diagram of the tiers.



How will the application work?

After Dawn explained how the application will work I designed a use case.


Use Case 1

The user will Load the application and will be greeted with a home page. This homepage will have a list of main categories. When the user clicks on a main category they will be directed to a page on subcategories of that main category. When the user clicks on a sub category the user is directed to a page with buttons of all the services / information when the user clicks on on one of these buttons they are directed to a web site of the service.  

UX Design.

UX stands for user experience and focuses on usability.  Dawn mentioned in the interview that not all users of this application can read or might not have English as a first language.  This made me think that the application needs picture or icons. A visual aid will help people who can’t read or read well navigation the application using this visual add. Using commonly used design element locations can help create a familiar feel for users. Most apps will use the very top or the very bottom of the phonescreen to place naviagtion or menu bars. To aid in the usablilty of my app I tried to follow alot of the common design style and layouts of other app.



Mock ups


I built my sketched up in modular components. I Concentrated on GUI elements on their own and combined them into a sketched mock up.

Icons VS Pictures

I came to a cross road during my mock up design. Should I use images and icons. I knew that I needed to incorporate visual elements as well and text. Having Text and Images aids navigation especially for people with learning difficulty’s and aren’t able to read. Most apps on the market today use icons which is fine if there are only a few buttons on the application but with the nature of this app’s content it might be hard to find icons for every category. Also icons can come across quiet sterile and unfriendly.

I did some research into this and couldn’t find much information on icons vs images. I looked at alot of other applications and most use icons. Most icons have over time been attached to certain functions or metaphors. For example the hamburger icon has been linked to menus , the house icon is linked to home page / folder / directory and the magnifying glass is linked to searching .

Pictures are used more in websites and can be very direct to what they are portraying but also encompass feelings and situations.

My choice – I feel like pictures would work better in the application over icons for these reasons:


Icons can be very sterile and cold where pictures can make the application feel more wholesome and natural which fits the Southland family works identity better.

More variety

The nature of the content of this application means that there are a lot of parent categories and subcategories. To go down the icon rout I would need 150+ icons some of which some would need to be very niche and probably very hard to find , which would leave me needing to create my own icons for any category I couldn’t find an icon for!. There are a lot of places where you can get royalty free images of vast variety e.g

Digital Mock ups

For my digital mock-ups I used adobe illustrator. I had used this program a lot in some of my art design papers (mobile interface design and branding design) and its a very powerful program for creating mock-ups.

I designed my buttons , loading screens and navigation bars separate to the full phone mock-ups. For my mock-ups I create 4 concepts and applied the Southland Family Works colour pallet to each one. The colour pallet was given to me by Southland Family Works as part of their National Branding Style Guide.

I want to get some peer review on these mock-ups and show them to Dawn at Southland Family Works before I select my final design. I feel that when you design something as functional as a application interface that it is important to get other peoples view on it. Because I am the sole person working on the design the concepts used are purely my subjective view; by getting other peoples subjective view on my interface I can improve it in ways I probably would have never thought of.

The Start

I am currently at the last stage of my degree. I am to complete an project. My project is to create an android information application for southland family works – a non-profit organisation which helps young families.

This application will link to web sites which has useful information for young families. There are 100+ websites that this app will be indexing.

This project has elements to take into consideration to make sure that this application is successful.


Interface design.

An easy to use. I need to consider that not all users of this application are computer or language literate. A simple and ease of use is important.

Information hierarchy

Due to the amount of content I need to create an easy to navigate hierarchy of the content.

Application design

How the application will be structure.

What technologies will be used.

Will I use a database?

During the progress of this project I will blog about the choices I made and the research that I did.

Final Blog Post


Sadly RES701 is coming to an end. I enjoyed this class greatly. For me this class encouraged a lot of deep thinking about subjects that I had never really much thought to during my study at NMIT. Topics like Ontology and Epistemology; at first these words struck me as frighteningly complicated. After some light research into Ontology and Epistemology I was still lost on what these words met.

It wasn’t until I did some more in depth research did I uncover their true meanings (My Findings here) – both subjects equally interesting and giving me a new perspective on types of ideas and thinking.

One thing I really enjoyed about this paper was how we got the opportunity to explore and do research on areas of IT that interested us. This is this is why I created the two posts MOBAs and Smart Devices. I already had a pretty good understanding of these subjects but upon further research I discovered new information about them. For example I had no idea that Samsung was in development of a new mobile OS until I starting gathering information about Firefox OS.

That’s when I stumbled upon Tizen.

I learnt that source of your information is important in research. This helps with validating your information and giving it credibility. An article from Microsoft about which browser is the best may be biased toward Microsoft products (especially if Microsoft is paying the person to write the article).

Not everything you read on the internet is true, I think a lot of people forget this.

I know I have been guilty of believing something just because its written on someones blog or in a fancy looking article site.



There’s much more to research than just Googling for information. Google is usually a great starting point for most information gathering, but Google might not give you the best information for your purpose. During my study in RES701 my eyes have been opened to great research tools on the internet, most of these tools gather more academic articles and other students research. Some of these tool are

The information from these sources seem to be more rich than that of just a simple Google search would uncover. Research into validating this information authenticity is still needed with these sites though, just because they are academic articles doesn’t make them true!

I always left Res701 with a lot of food for thought which would always develop into more deeper thoughts through out the week . I feel that I have a better understanding of what is research, how to research, what information is valid and is this research ethical.

I have also found that the topics we have covered have changed the way I asses information gathering and analysis.


All this I believe will prove to be a great skill for my future career in IT and my personal life as well.

That sums up my semester studying my RES701 Paper. It was enjoyable. That’s all for now

Good bye 🙂



Ethics in Research

shutterstock_145461094-300x300During class this week we talked about what ethics meant and looked at the four main principles of ethics.

The four principles of Ethics

Do no harm/minimise the risk of harm

This includes both mental and physical health. Some research and / or projects could possibly cause harm to human or animal, in any cases where humans or animals are involved risk needs to be minimised.

Avoidance of harm should be a top priority.

Participants should be aware of risks.

Some may say that if something is so groundbreaking and saves the lives of many, is might be worth the life of one.

Lots of thought and procedures should be put in place to minimise harm.

Preserve human dignity

Peoples information is sensitive and can lead to humiliation and embarrassment. Protect peoples dignity and in some cases protect their information’s dignity.

Experiments should take into consideration locations, people should have privacy and be treated as people and not scientific objects.

Ensure informed choice

Participation should be voluntary. Every person involved needs be given a choice in their participation. They should also be given all of the information regarding the project so that their choice is informed and based on transparency.

Ensure confidentiality

If a person involved in the project expects confidentiality – then this should be extremely important.

Even if their is a moral reason for breaking confidentiality this should not be done, it can lead to a breach of peoples dignity and their safety. It can also invalidate information.

It is hard to know what reactions your actions could bring. Thought and care should be applied. Don’t let your own moral get in the way, think ethically.

Reference Clare Atkins Ethical Behavior

As a class we were given some scenarios which we had to judge on weather they were ethical or not. One Scenario I found interesting:

You are doing your PhD about drug abuse among students.  You interview 30 students about their drug use.  You discover that one of the students is actually a fairly big time dealer and you report him to the police.  

I found this question interesting because to contact the police would be an action of morals but could trick a lot of people into thinking it was ethical.


Morally, you would want to contact the police because he is a drug dealer and drugs can harm people and communities.

But the ethics side, of this is the students gave out their information as part of a survey  and therefore he should remain anonymous. If you pick the moral track, you are voiding your data and losing credibility making it less likely for people to want to give information.

I personally find the distinction between morals and ethics complex at times.

HTML5 Follow up

Relating back to my last post on HTML and the questions associated with it. I realized I could go a lot deeper with my questions with a more scientific direction. After a lot of thought I came up with some new questions.


HTML5 Questions

Question 1 

How do HTML 5 Web apps compare with native written apps?

To answer this question some testing on my behalf is needed:

      • A comparison of the run time speed of HTML 5 Apps vs native apps.
      • The compatibility of a native app vs an HTML 5 app.
      • The development difficulty level and time of a HTML 5 app vs a native written app.

Question 2

Are HTML 5 apps constricted by their browser dependencies?

This will need some research into features of current browser rendering engines and what they currently support. HTML 5 is still being developed and released so not all features are functional this in its own is a restriction.

Question 3

Are HTML 5 Web Apps the future of computer applications? 

This will take possible interviewing or surveying of people to find out the trends in which types of app is most popular. This information would be best compared against app information dating back 1 – 5 years to see which way the application market is trending. Does the fact that HTML 5 technology being leading edge make it more popular via hype would be something I would need to consider.


Questions about HTML 5

This week I’m looking at identifying three questions related to HTML and how I might go about answering them from there I’m going to create a project title from the questions.


Question 1

What is the main purpose of HTML 5?

How would I answer this question?

I would read through multiple documentation from reputable sources, Mozilla and Google scholar are some examples. By reading through multiple sources I am more likely to come to a conclusion that would mostly be unbiased and factual.


Question 2

What technologies does HTML 5 set out to replace?

How would I Answer this question?

I would start by researching what the intended purpose of HTML5 was set out to do. I could use the the information collected in my previous question to help scope my research into this question. Then I would look into what HTML 5’s current features are. From there I can identify the technologies that HTML5 could replace.

Question 3

What are the new HTML 5 Tags?

How would I answer this question?

I would research amongst multiple sources such as W3C, Mozilla etc. combined with actual experience of coding HTML5 and testing this code. With these three sources of information I could come to a factual answer.


When creating a project title out of these question I have to think about what information I need in the title while taking into consideration of things like how it sounds, will people understand what his project is about from reading this title.

Title 1

What technologies does HTML 5 set out to replace?

HTML5 – Web Technologies of the Future

I think this is a fitting title because right off the bat you can tell it’s about HTML5 and the second half tells you its leading edge technologies.


Title 2

What are HTML 5’s new Tags?

Tags new to HTML5

Simple and straight to the point. Tells the reader exactly what information is going to be in the project while leaving no room for misconception. It’s not very exciting though and doesn’t leave room for branching out.

MOBA Follow up

I recently discovered this video and found it relevant to my last post on MOBAs.

The video below is a documentary on DOTA2 and its e-sport community. I realise the video is quiet long and not everyone has the time to watch it, but for anyone who’s interested it’s there .

Areas of IT that Interest me – MOBA

For my blog post this week I will be looking into another area of IT that interests me.
Videos games… Well MOBA’s to be exact.

What is an MOBA?

MOBA or MMOBA stands for (Massively) Multiplayer Online Battle Arena which is a cross between and RTS (Real Time Strategy) and a MMO RPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) all pretty technical terms if you’re not a video gamer.


MOBA Game Play

MOBA’s usury have a steep learning curve which means you’re going to fail for your first 10-30 attempts that the game (depending on which MOBA)
The game play consist of a 5v5 or a 3v3 setup which each player controlling one unit (normally referred to as a hero or champion) with the goal of destroying the other teams base. With a large number of Hero/Champion units and each one having a different play style these games can take many years to master.


The First MOBA style games were nothing more than just mods for already released games. The first real MOBA being ‘Aeon of Strife’ a mod for Star Craft. After gathering a following a mod was created for Warcraft 3. The mod was call Defence of the Ancients or DOTA for sort.
This is where MOBAs really took off. DOTA was a great success and it caused game development companies to take a lot of interest. 3 games were developed from this mod.

Aeon of Strife – Star Craft

Aeon of Strife DOTA 1


HON – Heroes of Newerth

Developed with help of one of DOTAs greatest developers, Ice frog and ported directly a lot of the heroes from DOTA.

hon midwars2

Demi God

A nice graphical upgrade from the old war craft 3 engine but lacked a lot of the heroes.


LOL – League of Legends

Developed by one of the original DOTA Developers – Guinsoo

Demi God never really hit off with the fans, mostly due to its limited hero pool. On the other hand LOL and HON were great success, due to this more companies started taking notice including some bigger video game development companies valve and blizzards from this more MOBAs were born.


DOTA 2 – Defence of the ancients

Created by valve, this game is the closest to DOTA1 your going to get without playing dota 1.


Heroes of the Storm

This game is currently in beta stages. Being developed by the original Warcraft 3 company blizzard.


My Favourite MOBAs

HON – Heroes of Newerth

I enjoy this game because at core it is a DOTA carbon copy with better graphics faster mechanics and better controlling.

DOTA 2 – Defense of the Acients 2

I enjoy this game because the game feels more balance compared to HON and it has a really friendly community of players.