Can you please design an app that actually utilises the platform of mobile devices? Don’t just get on the bandwagon by rushing out a piece of junk simply to say you have an iOS app.
The problem…do you remember the children’s tale of the emperor’s new clothes…??
Yes, the app’s user interface looks ‘pretty’, but that’s about it.
Sure, aesthetics are important, but not everything. An app (like any piece of hardware or software) has to be functional too otherwise it’s missing the point! ‘Digital floss’ is a phrase that springs to mind. Or how about marquee text on web pages from the 1990′s?
If I can organise my Blackboard courses to adhere to principles of good web design – e.g. a student should be able to find what they need in no more than 3 clicks – then it’s NOT acceptable to locate this same content in the MobileLearn app with 7 touches? And where does this student see the content in the end? In a browser!! So why don’t they just go straight to Safari…??
To be fair, Blackboard have made a few enhancements since the launch of their first app last year. They’ve made changes to how instructors see content, but you still have to look hard to distinguish hidden folders from available ones. In some lighting conditions or when people are in a hurry, it’d still be really easy to miss and think that students can access content when in actual fact they can’t!
The one thing I do really support is the push notification. When an announcement is made in a course, your phone or iPad that has the app gets a pop-up on screen alerting the user / student to the fact. This occurs even when the device is in sleep mode.
So Blackboard, could you perhaps have a rethink about the purpose of your app? Don’t make students jump through ridiculous hoops only to end up in the browser view of a course anyway!! Make an actual mobile app. Redesign things from scratch and tailor it to iPads. Websites can do it (my own blog has a mobile-friendly view and a standard desktop/laptop view), so it is possible…!!
I don’t mean to be rude – I am, in my own way, actually trying to be constructive. It’s just that I think that there’s so much more that Blackboard could achieve with the MobileLearn app (and iOS compatibility in general!) that it’s frustrating when I’m left feeling let down – again – with Blackboard Learn. Has potential – will travel? Not at the moment, but here’s hoping!!