In the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. With this in mind the App Team started by researching existing approaches to terminology searches before we began to put together a concrete model for the app.
In order to gain an understanding of the functions of terminology search systems, four group members researched the following websites: http://www.multilingual.ch/, http://www.intelliwebsearch.com/, http://babelnet.org/ and https://www.google.com/advanced_search. Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of these websites, we began to share ideas of what we felt would be suitable and unsuitable for our Smart Phone app TermSeeker. Through these findings, we have compiled a list of priorities for the project – some areas, like precise function, have come earlier on in the process and others, like appearance and design, will be decided later on. In terms of how this research relates to our app, we will draw on the positive features of the websites, remedy the slightly less helpful elements and find what it is about our app that will make it unique. The priorities below will be addressed and the following questions answered as we work our way further into the project:
• Efficiency: Surely one of the characteristics paramount to the making of TermSeeker will be speed. In order to make an app worth using instead of a website, the process must be quick and painless. What’s the point of an app if it could be quicker to get out a computer, power it up, sign in and search for a term over a bigger screen? How can we make the app quick and easy to use?
• Accessibility: While most of our potential users would be language or translation aficionados, they may not necessarily be particularly technology-literate. There is no use in presenting a user with an over-complicated, confusing app that they can’t relate to. Using our app should be a stress-free experience – what might we need to put in place to ensure this?
• Variety of language: We haven’t decided for definite which languages will be used for TermSeeker but we are in the process of doing so. Having compiled a list of the collective languages spoken by our main module students, we hope that there should be a decent language variety on offer – watch this space!
• Fairly large database: In order to offer users a range of valid sources, we would need to be looking at a database that wouldn’t limit our search options unnecessarily. Further research will need to be done into this area.
• Possibility of searching for results in a particular category: This may be something that won’t possible until further down the line but it is something interesting to bear in mind: if users could customise and filter their search for their own needs (for example, searching for the term in using a certain country code), this would add to the flexibility and personalisation of the app. Which categories would we want to prioritise in our search options?
• Neat, slick design: Later on in the project we will work on the appearance and the design of the app. We will need to remember that, on the smaller screen of a Smart Phone, the priority would be not to overload the user with written information and to keep have a tidy, concise design. What will our logo look like? What will the layout and colour scheme be?
We hope that, as we continue on our app-making journey, the above questions will become clear!