November 19, 2012 – As we focused this week on working with the component designer, I added a few features that I hope will be meaningful in the final app. I also focused on making them work in the blocks editor, however, as I don’t want my design aspirations to get ahead of what I can actually produce in the end. Doing this has also built my confidence in my ability to produce a working, final product and has actually inspired me to push harder than I originally planned (see below).
Among the most notable of the features added this week are a notification element and splash screen. These two elements introduce my license, address liability concerns, and present a mock-up of a logo. They introduced to the component designer a clock element and, of course, a notification element, which I had not worked with yet. I also added various horizontal and vertical arrangements to put increased structure into the appearance of my app. I’m not content with this structure/appearance yet.
In addition to this I added buttons for advancing through the book page by page (rather than relying solely on the list picker, or table of contents, which could become confusing if users fail to remember their current location in the book). I also added a feature that allows users to turn on/off the words of the story that is associated with the pictures.
After receiving feedback from my peers on my app and my concerns with the app designer, I plan to figure out how to make a user-friendly table of contents in the list picker. When I attempted this earlier, I received errors in the app build stating that the “pages” could not be found. I assumed this was due to limitations in the list picker component, but my classmates indicated that it can be dealt with when defining my global Page variable (which is a list). I suspect my problem when I first attempted the changes was related to how I set up the After Picking event and Open New Screen elements.
I mentioned above that I’m not content with the appearance of my app. I really want to play around with a more refined look that would involve a pre-made background and sliding or disappearing navigation menu. I don’t like the unrefined look that I’ve been able to achieve thus far through app inventor’s basic interface. As I’ve done/seen done with CSS, pre-made visual elements can really spice up the appearance of a webpage or (I hope) app screen.
I anticipate that I will run into problems with app inventor’s 5 MB size limits. I want high resolution pictures that look nice on tablets, so I’ll have to find the right balance between photo quality and this size restraint.