This Week on #TalkTech: The New Zite, Evaluating Mobile Apps for Learning, Google Maps and iOS

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss.

This is the last #TalkTech of 2012! We’ll be up and running again on Thursday, January 3rd and ready to discuss the latest trends and technology once again. If you have ideas or feedback for #TalkTech that we can try out in the new year, let us know.

We’re all about the apps this week! Whether its marveling in the fantastic UI design of some of our favorites or discussing the best ways to evaluate mobile apps, we’ve got you covered:

Topic 1: How does the new Zite’s multitouch interface demonstrate effective mobile UI design?

The new Zite and mobile UI design

No new app or major refresh is without a few bugs, but all in all the new Zite is utterly fantastic. It’s a free app and thanks to acquisition by CNN last year, quite a bit has been invested in making it an excellent news aggregator. We are specifically looking at the mobile UI features that make it a case in point for how to design mobile learning. One of my favorite features is swiping an article up or down to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ instead of pushing a button. What do you think of the app?

Read the Wall Street Journal Review of Zite

Topic 2: What is the best method for instructional designers to evaluate mobile learning solutions?

Last I saw, Apple was reporting 275,000 apps in the app store. That’s a staggering number, but how many of them are useful? And if you are trying to use mobile apps for training or education, how do you evaluate their effectiveness? Instructional designer Mayra Aixa Villar has developed 7 criteria for evaluating mobile applications and we think it is a useful rubric many can benefit from. She actually uses the native app version of our Knowledge Guru game engine to demonstrate how to evaluate an app! Have a look at her criteria and tell us what you think.

7 Essential Criteria for Evaluating Mobile Applications

Topic 3: Google Maps is now available in the iOS map store. What do you think of the changes and updates?

Google Maps for iOS

I don’t know about you, but I am an iPhone user who has been pretty frustrated with Apple’s Maps app. Its directions are frequently wrong and it is missing some key features that I took for granted in the old Google Maps app. It goes to show what a dangerous task mobile app developers have: if you  alter or omit features users have become comfortable with, you can really throw them for a loop. Nevertheless, you can now download Google Maps in the App Store and have access to more accurate maps, points of interest, and public transit information. It has even added turn by turn directions for the first time on iOS. Awesome!

Forbes compares Google Maps to Apple Maps

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