Friday, September 23, 2005

Displaying content on mobile phones

Blendededu com recommended this juicystudio site for it’s clear guidelines on how to set up a web page / web site. I would highly recommend the site to all educators preparing sites that require on screen reading. The original objective of the juicystudio site was to prepare a site that would be suitable for viewing by the cognitively impaired. However, the guidelines provided are very sound and relevant to many other users.

Only some of the guidelines set out in the article above are pertinent to displaying text on to cell phone screens. I think that the guidelines on structure are especially important as navigating through text or websites displayed on a cell phone screen needs some practice. Having clear cut navigational guidelines helps to keep the scrolling on a cell phone screen down to a minimum.

After mulling through the above article, I did a google search to find out if there would be any similar guidelines written about how text or webpages should be laid out for easy access and small screen readability. Several PDA / book reader type software came up. I have been using palmreader on my Treo180 for sometime now. Before that, I used cspotrun. Both are serviceable, straight forward to download and use readers for ebooks. I found that they both provided clear displays, it was easy to navigate from one page to the next. They both had usable functions for moving between pages / chapters etc.

eBooks will be a challenge to replicate on the smaller screens of most cell phones. Looking at screen after screen full of text on a small screen does not appeal to most users. I then found this site from that explains how using ‘rapid serial visual presentation’ – RSVP, could help display text on a small screen much more efficiently. RSVP allows each word to be ‘flash carded’ on to a cell phone screen one after the other. Software that allows RSVP to be used is downloadable on to a cell phone from Buddybuzz is the work of B. J. Fogg from Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab. The buddybuzz website is also a really fine example of a clearly set out and visually attractive website.

I will need to try this out to see how applicable this is to mlearning. I can see that it will make a big difference with regards to display and readability. However, will the reader be able to retain a long sentence, or the stem and distractors of a multiple choice question to actually make a response at the end of the reading? We will need to test it out on our students to find out. We might still have to display the whole paragraph / multiple choice question after the same content has been displayed using RSVP. The students can then read the content / question first using RSVP and still have a reference to look at when a response is required to the content / question.

I will be interested in finding out if anyone has used RSVP for mlearning applications as at the moment, RSVP provided by buddybuzz is linked to several newsfeeds and blogs. I am not sure if all content for RSVP has to be set out in a specific way. I have emailed the folk at buddybuzz to find out and look forward to their reply.


Broadband Guy said...
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