A multimedia application designed for beginning readers aged 4-8 users to understand upper and lower case letters, beginning and ending sounds, middle short vowels sounds and beginning reading words. Application designed using a sound, text, animated objects. It also features with more than 200 3D objects and help also available for user. All menu items and directions are interactive this will help the pre-readers to navigate and operate the program. If user solve a certain number problems it will rewarded by a game. The game room has a parent/teacher control which controls number of problems user have to solve before going to a game room.
The application contains 8 problem solving tasks which link by main menu page. Main navigational buttons placed bottom of the screen every screen consists with a Directions button, Help button and a Quit button. When user clicks on the directions button voice message plays and explain how to solve the problem
in each screen. On help screen (which is one help screen throughout the application) explains, how each letter pronounce by a voice message. When user clicks the Quit button a message box will displays and ask user to confirm the action.
One of the common feature of the application is every action is speak out by a voice message and every object is highlighted on mouse down event. Quality of the audio and graphics used in this application below the standards comparing other applications in the market. Although application gives good idea about how each letter pronounced, beginning sound letters and middle vowel letters.
There are 8 knowledge building tasks in this application. Upper case and Lower case letters where user has to match upper case and lower case letters, user have to click on the upper case or lower case letter first and then the matching letter. In Beginning sound letters user has to click on the picture that begins with the given letter which will be displays top of the screen and it also describe by a voice message. In beginning sound review list of letters will displays right side of the screen and user have to match the picture begin with matching letter. Ending sound letters similar to Beginning sound letter task simply user have to match the picture with ending letter. In the Middle Vowel Sounds user have to identify the matching picture for given vowel. After each of these tasks user is rewarded by a game.
Application mainly based on animated objects and voice messages it also features with many pictures
Navigation Chart: Animated Beginning Phonics
Application has 17 screens in total 8 of the screen navigate trough main menu screen, each of these 8 screens linked to same help page. Once a Task completed user will automatically navigate to game room, where user is given a choice of two games. There is no backward navigation once user select a game, when user completes the game automatically navigate to main menu screen. The main navigational buttons located in the bottom of the screen so user can exit to main many at any time.
Overall application usability comparing to audience is hard to understand although this is in the educational software category for aged 4-8 application is hard to learn quickly. Designer has used lots of colours in the main menu and the buttons are not well categorised and located properly. When user move the mouse to each object voice message will play when user move the mouse faster voice messages are overlapping and its difficult to user to determine the action.
Application can divide 3 main areas,
* Instructions area
* Working area
* Navigational Area
Instruction area will give the task to user to proceed and working area is where the task can workout and form the navigation area user has given a choice to exit, access help or get directions. Developer has used same interface to each task screens, this is an advantage to the user it can help to learn the application quickly.
Developer has used a in-revert effect to every button on mouse down event so when user click button, image quality getting dropping because application designed within 256 colour depth.
* Disorganised Main menu, Rather than using a quit button on every page if there is a Main menu button or back button will help to develop usability issues
* When there is a quit button user cannot understand whether to exit the program or exit to main menu.
* Developer has used lots of colours and buttons all over the screen making hard to understand.
* There is only one help screen, user cannot get help for each task
* Poor navigation in some areas of the application (Eg. Game Room)
* Poor quality audio clip, some of the voice messages are poor quality.
* Poor image quality
* Use of same button for different task (eg. Quit button in main menu has been used throughout the application.
* User can learn the alphabet in fun way (eg. after completing each task user will be rewarded by a game)
* Use of animation, Without putting still images developer has used animated images giving more interactivity to application
* Interactivity, (Eg. Each action return a Voice Message or Animation makes event driven program.)