Learn to build DIY apps

storyboard for app design


Graeme Addison explains the range of choices and some of pitfalls in do-it-yourself app design. He will be leading a workshop on app creation at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, Johannesburg, on 28-30 July. Contact the IAJ 011 482-4990. info@iaj.org.za

Mobile apps – those little programmes to run and have fun with on your smartphone – have become so popular that it’s been suggested our devices should be renamed appphones.

DIY APP DESIGN IMAGEThese days everyone uses apps and every business wants at least one. They are not just playthings: they serve us with weather, maps, messaging, games, health advice and much more. The world is going mobile and your organisation needs to get with the trend – just so long as your apps work properly and contain the kind of services people want.

They say that on the web Content is King. The same is absolutely true of apps: fix your sights on communicating with the user and helping the user to communicate with others.


In effect this means you start by drawing up a storyboard of what you want the app to provide in an easy-to-navigate way. Visualise it as a set of interconnected blocks. It must flow. It must look good. It must not try to do too much. And above all it must satisfy a particular need.app diy storyboard

Mobile apps promise three handy advantages over desktop and laptop computing: speed, portability and focus. You can access information and complete tasks quickly; do it on the hoof; and know exactly what you are getting because the app was designed to be task-specific.

With conventional computer applications – also termed apps, by the way – you have a wider choice of Continue reading

Posted in app design, Art of writing, Communication, General, internet | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elections 2014: the democratic disconnect in SA

GRAEME ADDISON reflects on the gap between the demands of protestors and the choices made by voters. Media are torn between reporting the upsurge of violence – and perhaps advancing non-democratic causes – while struggling to maintain trust in the legitimacy of a state badly corrupted under current leadership.

In different parts of the world people are taking to the streets aiming to bring down their governments. Today in Ukraine the elected president has effectively been removed. In Thailand and Venezuela crowds rally around symbols of resistance, shaking governments to their foundations.

In Egypt President Morsi was ousted barely a year after being elected by popular vote; and that was after Mubarak had been forced out of office by mass demonstrations. In Syria the protests turned into a deadly Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

Radio: at the heart of social media

Radio is perfectly positioned to be the ringmaster of social media exchanges within and even well beyond its broadcast footprint area. GRAEME ADDISON offers a bit of theory to back this up.

Radio is limited by being only an audio medium – right? Sure, it’s a ‘theatre of the mind’ but how far does that get you when all trends in journalism and entertainment point to radio digital commonsvisual media? Radio is instant and soon forgotten, right? It can’t sustain attention and pursue investigative details and data? Dead wrong!

Radio connects many dots. Because of its directness, openness and agility, it can position itself at the heart of social media. It can grab the attention of listeners (rather call them users) and send them to in-depth content via its web pages. With digital radio now on the cards almost everywhere, the transmedia power of radio will take a great leap forward.

And radio is not just sound. Using websites and its own social media channels radio can Continue reading

Posted in Communication, media theory, radio | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments