Always On, Always Connected
Final Project: Explore Tour

May 2 2017

Whenever we visit a new city or place, we often miss some of the great stores or services that it has to offer. We may not always have the time to find a tour guide, and we may not necessarily want to go out of our way to find those great stores. What would be great is to know when and if we are passing something great as we go about our usual journeys. Explore Tour is a mobile application that notifies travelers when within a close range of hidden gems, secret spots that most tourists miss but shouldn't. Explore Tour is a cheap and easy option for those that want to discover new cities and places.

There is nothing else like Explore Tour on the market. Usually, geolocation services lead people to one specific place of their desire. Explore Tour, however, does not lead people anywhere and instead allows places based on your likes to find you.

My final project, Explore Tour, features major updates since midterm. At midterm, Explore Tour was able to detect locations within a specific range. Now, Explore Tour has a fully functioning menu, a dictionary of specific tours based on geographical location, and improvements in code to make the app run faster. Soon to be added is a background mode, so that the app will run while in the background, and also push notifications so that alerts are sent when locations are discovered. A future feature for this application are coupon banners, so that businesses can attract explorers as they discover new locations.

Final Project: Explore Tour

April 11 2017

For my final project, I am going to further develop the Explore Tour application that I have been designing and developing this semester. View my final project proposal.

Bluetooth Buttons

April 1 2017

A video of a bluetooth sensor tag, with play and pause buttons, controlling a video in a mobile application.

Bluetooth and Cordova

March 27 2017

A video of a bluetooth sensor tag working with a mobile application.

Midterm: Explore Tour

March 7 2017

For my midterm project, I continued to refine an app idea that I have been working on, Explore Tour. I changed the name from Virtual Tour to Explore Tour because exploring is the main function of the application. I mostly worked this week on the radius of significant test locations. An interesting problem that I came across was that different locations are different sizes geographically, which I did not consider before. Instead of doing a custom radius for each location, I tried and tested to find a happy medium.

I also enhanced the visual design further, now that I have a name that seems fitting. The next step is to figure out how to alert the person exploring while their phone is away in their pocket. As of right now, the app only works when the screen is open. Another step is to load preference locations now that I have test locations working. The explorer will most likely want to choose which types of locations they would like to be notified at.

Virtual Tour Test One

February 20 2017

This week, after we had a class covering how to incorporate maps and GPS into our projects, I was able to get my Virtual Tour Guide app to work. Right now, the app alerts me when I am within a certain radius of one of the test locations. There are some bugs that still need to be fixed, but overall everything is working well. The alert should only happen once, and the alert should happen when I am closer to the location. After I walk away, the old notification banner needs to slide down off of the page.

The next big step is to make decisions about which locations are significant, and what I want people to explore and notice. Perhaps I should make a menu option where the user can choose which types of locations they are interested in? Then from there, I could load a dictionary of locations based on those preferences.

Virtual Tour Guide Prototype

February 6 2017

After being inspired by the notion of chance in maps in the class Avant-Garde Procedural Ins, I decided to prototype an app that acts as a tour guide for travelers that ranomdly explore their destinations. The app is a virtual tour guide. While using the app, if a traveler passes a significant location or monument, the app alerts the traveler and provides background information on the history or signifcance of that place. Listed are some user scenarios.

  • Business Woman Traveling - A business woman, who does not have time to tour New York City, uses the virtual tour guide app while traveling to and from business meetings. She occasionally passes significant buildings that she would have never known about otherwise.
  • Graduate Student Studying Abraod - Studying abroad in Australia as an exchange student, Steven learned that his walk to school passes the house that Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) grew up in as a child.
  • A Retired Couple - Hank and Peggy Hill are visiting Hollywood, California. They both enjoy using the virtual tour guide app to learn more about the life of each actor as they walk down Hollywood Boulevard.
Successful App Design

February 6 2017

One app design that I find very useful, and in my book successful, is the app for the Discover credit card. The app is easy to use, and makes paying my credit card bills on my phone a delight. First, I am able to log in with my touch ID so that I do not have to type out my password. Next, I can instantly see what transactions have been made with my card, even when I am out and about. Third, I can see the location of where the transaction was made with an embedded map. And finally, I also have access to my bill statements of the past. There is probably more that I am missing here, but you get the point.

The visual design of the app is also nice. The typography has good hierarchy, and the colors are complementary. Visit Discover Card.

Inspiration Application

January 30 2017

Shown is a simple inspirational mobile application using Cordova. Using Xcode, and after obtaining an Apple Developer's License, I was able to open the app on my iPhone.

Without my iPhone

January 30 2017

Over the weekend, I spent some time away from my iPhone. While a part of me enjoyed being free from the constant, incoming messages and distractions that smart phones bring, another part of me felt inconvenienced. I could not use things such as a gps, messenger, clock, calendar, or search engine, which are all things that I commonly use. And although these are all things that I can survive without, it is surprising how many tools we have transferred and can transfer to technology. I reflect on my memory before smart phones existed, when we had maps, pay phones, watches (not smart watches), wrote our schedules on paper, and either asked someone or searched the web on a desktop computer to discover information about something. It is interesting that we rely on one, small object to perform many, unrelated tasks. I stand on the fence of whether smart phones, and other smart devices that we can carry, are good or bad for us. Smart phones are both good and bad depending on how they are used, and how often. Honestly, it may really be more about what is built into the phone that should raise more concerns. What applications are we using our phones for, and why? Perhaps we can create applications that improve the physical lives of society, and not keep them trapped in their digital lives.

Designed and developed by Steven Simon 2016.