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2nd Team Meeting – Confirm Requirements & Specification for Synote Mobile – 26th April, 2012

Mike and Yunjia thinking about things.

Mike and Yunjia thinking about things.

The team meeting held on 26th April had a simple agenda of confirming the user requirements and specification for Synote Mobile,  based on discussions with colleagues and students in the Web and Internet Science research group and others who have been helping us to debate specific issues and concerns.

Screen size issues

Synote mobile needs to work on mobile phone screens as well as tablet or slate screens – taking the iPhone and iPad as prime examples of the differences it is clear that two versions will need to be developed.

The program should automatically detect the device and load the corresponding page or style sheet. Here are two useful resources:

Yunjia discussed some useful links to help with these requirements:

Best practices for Device detection with Media Queries 

Adding Mobile Views to your Grails Applications with JQuery Mobile: A Real Life Example 

Twitter bootstrap 

Delivery of the videos

The video resources should be delivered in an adaptive way, i.e. devices with low resolution and bandwidth need to download smaller file sizes.

The iPad and iPhone media player does not allow for integrated note taking or annotations so it is proposed that there will be an HTML player version of Synote.

As is mentioned in a blog that discusses the insertion of a video or audio playing link for these devices – the player will take over the fullscreen when playing,so it will not be possible to have a split screen version of the transcriptions or the annotations. Therefore it is proposed that there will be a thumbnail picture displayed alongside the video with the annotations. It is felt that there is a requirement for the extraction of thumbnail pictures when creating annotations.

audio player in iphone

Taken from Ploem.be blog as an example of an audio file playing.

HTML5 Players

Considerations around the HTML5 player used have to include the best accessibility options, but with browser differences this is not easy to achieve. HTML video.org offer a helpful comparison of players.

Format Compatibility

Different devices cause format compatibility complications and Safari, Google Chrome and mobile IE also have different support mechanisms for HTML video codec. This means the delivery of multimedia resources has to be adaptable.

Touch interface

There needs to be careful consideration given to the type of gesture driven / tap type controls. Users who wish to have VoiceOver controls will affect the gestures that can be used within not only the player but also the webpages.  It has already been stressed that there is a need to keep clutter to a minimum and therefore there must not be too many buttons in the screen.  It was confirmed that the design would aim to abide by the accessible and ease of use design concepts mentioned in the blog “Research – Planning for an easy to use and accessible mobile app.” 

Despite the issues and concerns raised it is intended that the specifications being developed will have the bonus of offering

  • Web browser access – No app store download needed
  • Automatic enhancements – No need to connect to an app store for updates
  • Speed – adaptive performance on most connections
  • Automatic adjustment of presentation – depending on device screen size
  • Use of existing accounts.

Project Plan – Minutes for 1st meeting of the Synote mobile team


Attending – Mike Wald (MW), Gary Wills (GW) Yunjia Li (YL), E.A. Draffan (EA)

• Design and development of the Synote web app suitable for mobile technologies

There was the initial discussion that led to the following points being made:

  • Not initially designed to work on mobiles – 4 years ago people were not playing videos on mobiles or tablets.
  • Browser issues on mobile – media players at present not playing synchronised audio and videos with notes
  • Devices will use different resolutions this will affect the ability to port the videos

Initial rapid prototyping – download media on a mobile with a suitable Synote mobile interface – New UI so that you can see what Synote will look like on a mobile. (YL)

• Conversions of permitted recordings to suit the mobile platform

  • Find video – we do not store – it would be possible to set up a server and cache the videos
  • If the file is owned by the user it can be added to YouTube and then streamed onto the device within Synote mobile.
  • Adaptive video streaming – single file to many different devices – have to transcode it into several files.

Different formats, adaptive streaming video, investigate YouTube or static file download cached. (EA, MW and YL)

 Issues related to media types, transcriptions and annotations.

What is WebM?

YouTube video – “John Luther, WebM Product Manager, talks about the open-source WebM video format, the problems that it solves, and what WebM means for the open web. Learn more at http://www.webmproject.org/

Testing on different portable devices – Ipad3, iPhone, Android – delay on Windows tablet. (EA, MW, GW and YL – plus user stakeholders)

Work Plan

  • April: Website Template, Blog, Synote Mobile Requirements and Specifications & research into recording/replay formats
  • May: Rapid Prototyping Phase 1 producing prototype demonstrator on tablets and mobiles to replay recordings from file or streamed from Youtube
  • June: User testing and evaluation by Southampton and external collegaues to inform Co-Design & rapid prototyping phase 2

•  OER 3 Programme Meeting being held on 26th March 2012 at Dexter House, London (MW and EA)

• AOB – Discussion around take outs from long videos to produce clips that could be annotated etc.
• Next meeting date. Skype meeting after Easter

1st Team Meeting – 22nd March 9-10am, 4th floor demo room/FPAS board room 32/4073

This will be the first meeting of the team to discuss:

  • Design and development of the Synote web app suitable for mobile technologies
  • Conversions of permitted recordings to suit the mobile platform
  • Issues related to media types, transcriptions and annotations.
  • Preparation for OER 3 Programme Meeting being held on 26th March 2012 at Dexter House, London
  • AOB
  • Next meeting date.