Thursday, August 30, 2012

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mobile phone apps can benefit from interacting with public display information as a 'call to action' for students information use. The reluctance of students to experiment with offsite access appears to be less when directions are clear and focussed, and targetted on a known and specific topic.

At the more detailed design level, it is important to take a conservative approach to using communication protocols and technology. Students are reticent about using new technologies as these may require learning new controls, reconfiguring their phone or downloading further applications. Well-designed proxy access controls turned out to be a major advantage to the project, as focussing a user's contact to specific content is a key factor in a positive evaluation of an online resource.

This raises the general point that large, aggregated databases are difficult resources to navigate, and identifying specific content (e.g. one issue of a journal, or a conference series) is much more easily evaluated for utility than a general overview or search box. We very much benefitted from the advice of our subject librarian, and the provision of judiciously chosen material was a key factor in our design's success, besides the careful user-centred design approach we undertook.

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