“It’s an instructional mobile phone application that teachers its users how to create Origami constructs. This is done via the user navigating back and forth across a series of diagrams. The application provides over a hundred different designs with descriptions, all categorised into themes. In addition to this, it provides the option to view external videos and the different types of folds the user will need to perform in greater detail.”“Other than the app store listing that has it rated at ages four and up, I’d say it doesn’t really discriminate between any particular audience. Given the subject matter, it’s clearly just designed for anyone looking to create Origami constructs, whether that be those that just have a passing interest or those that are looking to gradually improve their skills and work their way up to much harder designs. The app facilities all skill levels by clearly labelling each designs difficulty as either easy, medium, or hard – leaving the user to decide what they’d like to build based upon their capabilities.”“The application isn’t particularly difficult to use. It simply utilises standard touch-screen navigational conventions that you’d find within any other application. It assumes a basic knowledge of how to read simple text descriptions and understand indication arrows – in saying that however, the aforementioned “folds” section explains what these arrows mean in greater detail should the user require it.”“This application doesn’t have a large amount of content, but what it does have is reasonably well presented and succinct. The first screen I’ll be looking at is the landing screen which displays a list of all the available designs in a scrollable menu.”“Here we can see the designs labelled clearly, with an icon to the side to indicate to the user a general idea of what lies within.”“Just under this label the user is able to read a vague description of the difficulty involved in making one of the these designs and slightly to the right, they’ll find the number of steps required to ensure the user doesn’t get themselves into something a little too beyond their skill level.”“The designs are categorised by theme as we can see in this example. Here we have Christmas themed Origami, and Origami that takes on the appearance of birds. This of course makes navigating the extremely long list of designs a little bit easier for the end user and helps them to find what they may be looking for.”“Through this screen the user is able to navigate to a selection of Origami instructional videos as can be seen here. These embedded YouTube videos appear to essentially just be a collection of random Origami instructionals and don’t appear to be created by the same person who made the application. While it offers some additional choice, it appears to be poorly implemented and I don’t see much reason to use it here outside of just watching a YouTube video as you would normally on your phone.”“Moving over to the actual instructions, we can see that they’re a collection of simple illustrations that the user can swipe left and right between to navigate. They offer basic, and sometimes vague indication arrows that show the user what they’re supposed to be doing. A lot of the time, like the image that can be seen here on the left – they’re very nebulous as to what they mean, (especially to someone who may not be very experienced) and the user is often required to flick forward a couple of steps to view the finished product and to really grasp what’s required to be done.”“As something of a solution to this, the app provides more in-depth set of instructions in the form of animations that play out the act of a particular fold in real time. This screen requires the user to navigate and find the fold they’re looking for themselves and it doesn’t really offer assistance in helping its users find the fold their looking for. The animations themselves are little more than a small clip consisting of 5 or 6 frames that plays consisting with no option to view a different angle then the one provided.”“It’s clear this application is not trying to be anything overly visually impressive. All the navigation works as you would expect and the buttons that allow you to do so are all clearly indicated for the user. The colour scheme, I would say, is minimal, and used to good effect in the visual diagrams with the illusion of depth being indicated through varying shades and textures as can be seen on the image in top right hand corner. The list of designs is relatively easy to navigate through due to the existence of categories, although it lacks a search function. Type is used sparingly, and only for names and descriptions. Where it is used however, it’s quite legible and blends well with the overarching theme. Overall, if I were to describe the style, I would say, for better or worse, it’s definitely minimalistic.”“In regards to the landing screen, firstly I believe the list of designs would benefit from search functionality that allows the user to find a particular type of design whether that be through theme, difficulty, steps, or even just by name.
Rather than having the videos segregated into their own sections, perhaps they would be better utilised as an additional option when viewing the illustrated instructions to give the user a different perspective on how these constructs are made.
Another limitation of the app is that each design has to be downloaded before it can be viewed. Given that these instructions seem to just be a set of images for the most part, I see little reason why they couldn’t be included with the initial download from the app store. Each design only takes about 2 seconds to download anyway, so I think it would streamline the process and remove that extra step in reaching the desired information.
As mentioned earlier, the instructions themselves can often times be somewhat vague so I think they would benefit from being significantly clearer in their meaning. One suggestion would be to adopt the three dimensional appearance visible on the right here which, for some reason, can only found within a select few of the diagrams.”