You want to teach the world and bring education to the masses. You have a great idea for a nifty mobile education application. And you want develop it and implement it on the mobile phone. But then you try to bring it to the world. And this is where the problem begins. For what particular mobile phones? There are so many different kinds, each one with their own problems. Mobiles, Mobiles Everywhere!
Does your application contain graphics or pictures? For what screen? A large one or a small one? Are your original pictures of high enough quality so that on a larger screen you don’t see ugly pixels? How about the color hues and intensity? Do they look the same on all of the mobile screens? Is the sharpness maintained on all models?
Does your application have sounds or speech audio? What is the quality? How much space is available on each of the mobiles you want to use? Is the user experienced affected negatively or positively, depending on the audio quality on any given device?
Does your application have video? What is the quality? How much space does it take? Is the frame rate sufficient for a smooth movie experience on all of the mobiles? How long does it take to download? If it takes a long time on a particular model, maybe it is too heavy of an application for that specific mobile phone.
Does your application require communication with a server? How does each mobile handle response time? Too long on a particular mobile? Not good. How does the application perform under poorer or more variable network conditions? What native capabilities does each phone model have in order to cope with such problems?
What kind of user interface is used on each mobile? What are the hardware restrictions? Does the model have a hard-key ‘back’ function? Then no need to put it in your application. But if it doesn’t, then you better let the users be able to navigate to where they want to go. What kind of lesson flow is used? Are there any restrictions imposed by a particular model?
In short, the fragmentation issue is a real pain – any part of your educational application may have to be re-designed to handle the specific constraints or limitations of certain models. And of course, the mobile industry is constantly evolving towards newer and more complex models.
So, Mobiles, Mobiles Everywhere? Wise choices about the models you wish to support coupled with smart, well-thought out design issues will help you cover the market and deliver true mobile education to the masses.