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    • #19282
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      This is an exchange between myself and one of our users, Graham. I’m posting it here in case we obtain development funding in the future: this discussion could shape our planning to tailor TalkPhysics for access from mobile devices.

      Do we go for an iPhone application, because users of Apples are the most likely to access the Internet from mobile devices? But that would not serve the needs of the two other most popular brands, BlackBerry (the most popular smartphone) and Google.

      Certainly there is a powerful argument for making TalkPhysics accessible from smartphones – Graham rightly pointed out in his first email that Twitter has a far higher proportion of active users than other Web 2 sites, and that may come down to how easy it is to use “on the move”.


      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for detailed reply.

      I just have a few follow up comments – see below:

      On 1 December 2010 15:17, talkphysics@iop.org <talkphysics@iop.org> wrote:

      >    Hi Graham –
      >    Great suggestions, and thank you for getting in touch.
      >    Personally, I had hesitated about dedicated development for the iPhone, as it was the third most widespread mobile device when I last checked (my instincts were to ensure there is a web interface that operates with all three of the most popular mobile operating systems), however there’s more evidence now that owners of Apple devices use them for far more web browsing than other manufacturers’ ( http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/09/03/quantcast-android-continues-to-grow-vs-ios-domination/ ).
      I would agree, perhaps an iPhone app might not be a cost effective strategy. However, a mobile optimised version would definitely be worth exploring. If based on open standard this would work on any smartphone (Android, Blackberry, WP7 and iOS devices). As I see it, access on the go will only serve to dramatically increase involvement and interaction between Physics teachers and the site.

      Several sites have this (BBC, Amazon, etc), I know their budgets will be an order of magnitude (or more!) higher but the mobile/smartphone access to the web is going to (or already is!) going to explode.

      Whether this comes to pass or not I can still access the site on my phone, but I am not sure why, at present, I can’t enter text using an iPhone. – is it a .Net issue?

      >    There is a possibility, and we’ve been thinking about since the very early days, but it entirely depends on finding funding. We’ve spent the development budget assigned from the Department for Education up to March 2011, so we’ll have to see whether our funding is extended for the next financial year (it was always going to be subject to review from them).
      I thought as much, but just in case..

      yours, Graham

    • #19283
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Hmm, done a bit more testing today. TalkPhysics works on the Kindle – you can search, post new topics, etc.

      iPhones and BlackBerrys (BlackBerries – spelling?) fail in the same way – the main text box you type into “Add a comment” is not recognised by either phone as being somewhere you can edit. So as a minimum, that needs to be fixed. I’m curious why the Kindle’s browser handles it, but neither iPhones nor BlackBerries do, but there we go.

      Beyond that, we need to present a different “CSS style sheet”, so users only download the minimum of data via their mobile signal, and the browser only has to process and display the simplest possible page.

    • #19284
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      You can paste into an iOS window, having composed the text elsewhere….

    • #19285
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      OK, couple of developments this morning. If anyone is interested you could try these out on your iPhone / BlackBerry / Android / etc. and let us know what you find:

      iPhone – normally, the text box doesn’t seem to allow entry. However, if you click on the “HTML” button, you can then copy things in and press “update” and then “post”.

      BlackBerry – just now, I found just a plain text box, managed to enter text and press “post”, and it all worked. I’m sure that’s not how it was two weeks ago?! Maybe I changed a setting on my phone.

      So, please try entering text (perhaps as a reply to this topic) and see what happens, and if that doesn’t work, try pressing the HTML button first. We might be able to come up with a “quick and dirty” solution that works for everyone…

      This is one of the improvements we’re currently trying to getting cost estimates for, as it would be a high priority to solve if we get development money.

    • #19286
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      I tried on my ‘old and busted’ phone. For internet browsing I use Opera Mini v5. I can log in, can see the text edit box, but can’t post. I tried the HTML button before but couldn’t enter into the text box either.

    • #19287
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Testing typing work-around with iPhone.

    • #19288
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      !!!! Works! Yay, thank you! 🙂

    • #19289
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Testing from iPhone

    • #19290
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Out of interest, I have just found two ways to post from iPhone.


      First was suggested above: click on the HTML button, type your text, hit update.

      Second I just discovered: even though the browser doesn’t recognize the text box, if you leave your finger over it you will eventually get the option to copy/paste etc. Just type your message in the iPhone notepad, then hit select all, copy, paste

    • #19291
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      That’s all useful information, thank you.

    • #19292
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Bizarrely, I found this week that I can post from my Blackberry. It’s slow, because the pages aren’t optimised for small bandwidth, but it works.

      It’s odd because we’d tried this several times before: we haven’t changed anything about my Blackberry or the main comment boxes in TalkPhysics. Oh well, at least it works!

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