Transferring existing collections to iPad delivery can be readily achieved if the right resources are available. Taking a user-centred design approach with rapid iteration, and repeated, lightweight user feedback was critical. We benefitted from contextual investigation data on how these devices are actually used, and would strongly recommend that this is a vital element in arriving at the most effective design. However, there is not yet a clear method for ensuring that desktop and mobile systems have a similar content aesthetic, and work remains to be done on identifying good practice and effective content management strategies.
Development on the iOS platform, and similarly with the competing Android system, requires the use of a developer toolkit. This constraint is more pointed in the case of iOS, as in turn that requires an Apple OS X computer. In either case, however, previewing content while content development is underway requires the direct use of the development platform. This constrains the content development process, and as in the case of the Greenstone project, it appears that it is important to provide a less constrained content development tool to maximise the opportunity for others to contribute in content. Further work is now underway to develop this resource, however the constraint does remain for the Learnmore iOS software at present.
Experience with the Learnmore app does, however, demonstrate that within the content format constraints noted above, a reusable software infrastructure for learning materials is an achievable goal, and City University’s School of Informatics already has work underway to develop its own learning resource in an iOS app form.
The outcome of our user testing has validated the importance of a short-cycle iterative development for creating mobile apps, as many ideas that appeared viable were clearly eliminated from the process as the result of user test feedback. A considerable volume of work would have been wasted has this approach not been taken.