Android and iOS apps guide

Teachers and trainers within the VET sector will benefit from a new Android and iOS apps guide. The guide has been developed by the New Generation Technologies for Learning business activity, managed by eWorks staff, and outlines some of the considerations involved in app development for vocational education and training.

Developed using an online survey to rate different aspects of development environments, the guide, named Android and iOS App Development Explained, includes:

  • definitions of the various types of mobile apps,
  • a list of websites where the technically-minded can undertake self-training,
  • process descriptions defining how apps can be distributed to both platforms, and
  • an exploration of the reasoning behind creating a native versus hybrid versus web app.

"The business activity generally recommends that web apps are developed in order to maximise the ability to share across different mobile devices", says Business Manager Kristena Gladman.

"There are scenarios, however, where it will be beneficial to develop apps that use device-specific functions, and the guide resulting from this work is intended to help decide when that is the case", says Kristena.

The New Generation Technologies for Learning business activity is funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy, a joint initiative of the Australian and State and Territory governments.

For more information please visit the New Generation Technologies for Learning website and follow eWorks on Twitter.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2013

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) logo

Today, May 9, marks the second Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This worldwide event aims at getting people talking, thinking and learning about […] accessibility.

There are many ways you can participate. Here are some of our favourites:

Go mouseless

Try navigating our website using your keyboard only. This is how people with motor disabilities (people who are unable to use a mouse with enough accuracy) surf the Web.

Use Tab and Shift + Tab to set the focus on the next/previous link, press Enter to select a link, and press Backspace to go back to the previous page. Other usefull keys and keystrokes include the arrow keys, as wells as Space and Shift + Space.

Thankfully, the eWorks website is built so that you can always see which link has focus. Unfortunately, few websites are built this way. Try surfing some of your favourite websites to see whether or not they are keyboard-friendly.

Try out a screen reader

If you’ve got a half hour to spare, how about trying to surf the Web the way a blind user would?

Using a screen reader is a very interesting and surprising experience. It’s also very easy! If you’re a Windows user, simply download and install NVDA. If you’re a Mac user, your system already includes a screen reader called VoiceOver. The next step is to quickly get familiar with your screen reader’s basic keystrokes. After that, just open a Web page and try it out!

If you’re feeling adventurous, try turning off your monitor or blindfolding yourself. You sure will remember the experience!

Free talks on accessibility

There are a bunch of public events taking place accross Australia today. We especially encourage you to swing by and enjoy free talks at the Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra GAAD Meetups.

Did you try out one of the above activities, or are you planning on taking part in a public event? We’d love to hear about it! Share your #GAAD experiences and thoughts on #accessibility with us on Twitter.

eWorks Website 2.0

We’re very excited to announce the release of our brand new website! We hope you like the new design, and appreciate the new content we’ve put in. A lot of changes are still coming, so stay tuned!

Our main priority when developing this new version was accessibility. Indeed, you are now looking at a website compliant with level AA of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). We, at eWorks, feel very strongly about accessibility and have been promoting it through the Australian e-learning technical standards that we manage on behalf of the National VET E-learning Strategy.

Our second priority was responsive design. In short, the website is built to adapt to any screen size it is viewed on. This means that you get an optimised user experience even when you visit the website from your smartphone or tablet. But don’t take our word for it, give it a try! If you don’t have access to a mobile device right now, just resize your browser window and prepare to be amazed!