Very important role in our project plays technology used to deliver desired information. As we are planning to design a Website and there is few technologies to develop it and deliver to our potential customers we need to gain certain information about the devices, platforms used by the target audience. We have carried a few researches as our project was evolving all the time and the technical and software related aspect is changing.
The main research was done on the usage of mobile devices in Ireland; According to Marketing Institute Ireland (2014) 57% of Irish people have a smartphone. Among them 82% 18-24 years old, 79% of 25-35 year old and 29% of 55+ have smartphone.
Another survey carried by Thinkhouse (2014) on Irish teenagers shows that 89.9% have smartphone and 59.3% of smartphone users own an iPhone.
According to Our Mobile Planet (2014) General mobile usage of internet is 92% and 67% of smartphone users in Ireland use desktop computers 7 days a week.
Another research was carried on the most popular desktop, tablets and mobiles Operating Systems used within last year. According to StatCounter (2014) you can observe that:
- Desktops are mostly using Microsoft Windows 7 fallowing Windows XP and then iOS.
- The most popular platform for tablets is iOS fallowing by Android.
- For the mobiles is Android and then iOS.
One of the main technologies used in modern websites supported by Microsoft Windows is Adobe Flash. Flash is a multimedia platform and a Rich Internet Applications tool used for adding intense animation and interactivity, and is the most popular platform for developing RIA, providing a large set of tools that are both powerful and user friendly. There is number of pros and cons of Adobe Flash.
Adobe Flash pros:
- Adobe Flash is well established technology so is distributed by a major software company. Adobe, a large amount of effort has been invested in making it a stable and feature-rich platform.
- Provides animated graphical experience because it uses powerful algorithms for rendering graphical content, making the scenes running smoothly. Also it provides various built-in visual effects to enrich the experience.
- Good performance as is enhanced on most Windows platforms to bring good performance even on less powerful computers.
- Good pixel-level control as it has the ability to specify measurements in sub-pixel increments. This can result in a crisper and generally more pleasant appearance of Flash applications.
- Suitable for developing visual effects, 3D graphics as it provides developers with a series of useful tools for creating and manipulating graphical content. Also, it natively supports animations and various transformations and effects, so it is a suitable choice for developing complex graphical applications.
Adobe Flash cons:
- Requires a “player” application to be installed on the client machine as a plug-in. The device and OS on the consumer side need to be compatible with Flash, and Flash version needs to be the same as the one used for development.
- It is not supported by iOS this means that a Flash file can’t be run on an iOS device (smartphones and tablets).
- Search Engine Optimization problem because texts and links are embedded in Flash, search engines will not read it, decreasing the website’s rankings in search engines. Some improvements in the SEO area of Flash are done, but the issues are still present.
As the flash cannot be run on iOS and Android therefore on many devices as tablets and mobile phones which are used mostly to surf in the internet there is alternative way to display the graphical content of our website. The alternative is HTML5.
Since HTML5 is on the market there has been an increase in its popularity and usage. Many of HTML5′s features revolve around the integration of previously separate technologies, such as Flash, directly into the HTML protocol. Responsive design refers to the ability for an application to dynamically re-size and alter itself for any type of device, whether that be full sized screen, a tablet, or a smartphone browser. The only disadvantage on HTML5 is to have browser up to date as there is an issue challenge to consider is backwards compatibility. Although most major browsers now have complete HTML5 support, including the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, some legacy IE versions still do not have support for it.
Another aspect of ability to create a website compatible with Android is programming language in our case we decided to use Processing because is free, has many libraries, is easy to use and compatible with:
- Java script
- Cross platforms (Windows, iOS, Linux, Android)
As our time for the project is limited and logarithms used to show 360 panoramas are very difficult to work with, we keep in mind possibility to use some sophisticated software to create 360 views and achieve desired high quality effect using only few still images. After research carried on the field of software available on the market, the best for the price and futures is Pano2vr software.
Marketing Institute Ireland (2014). [online] http://mii.ie/attachments/wysiwyg/20234/The-Irish-Digital-Consumer-Report-2013.pdf [accessed 10 Feb 2014]
Thinkhouse (2014). [online] www.thinkhouse.ie/mobilereport , [accessed 10 Feb 2014]
StatCounter (2014). [online] http://gs.statcounter.com/ , [accessed 10 Feb 2014]