Free Glide to build translator app for city tour

After the first test of the Glide app I found there was limited ways to input data. You had to edit a sheet tab of data but no method of automatically tagging that an item had been updated. That is, that I have identified so far.

Video clip showing quick demousing Recordit

The documentation and videos are not totally cohesive. There are videos on things that you cannot do with the free version, but it doesn’t say that. I think the tool is still quite young and changes are occurring but documentation/tutorials are not keeping up with the process.

I still cannot figure at what point the tool becomes a fully fledged app rather than a page in a browser. Is it for the Pro App or Business App. The pricing process is not clear to me.

Tour translation app development

I live by Mt Victoria Lookout and see lots of tour buses coming up the hill with the driver giving a travelog along the way. This is fine if people understand English, but can be a bit frustrating if they do not.

After testing Glide with a building survey app & thinking of limited user input I thought it might be ideal to use for a translator app on a bus tour.

Here is a link to the main app https://hohow.glideapp.io/

The idea is that it conveys the same information in all languages, so you have a spreadsheet with the same information in each, just translated into different languages.

Another reason I thought of it was my visit to Te Papa to see the Flowerpot Warriors. Expensive for what it was. I did note that they had audio guides on a rack that you could purchase to enhance your experience. I presume they were in a number of languages.

A third reason is my own apprehension when first going to Spain, to Barcelona. I was extremely concerned as I couldn’t speak any Spanish and was worried about the trains, buses and tubes as I thought they’ be in Spanish. In fact it was an absolute dream as you could push a language button and get a translation of all the information. Because you had the translation you could begin to get a basic vocabulary of the equivalent terms in Spanish that helped you with wayfinding in a foreign city. So although initially, I walked everywhere, I soon started to use the public transport system. So personally, translations are a very powerful tool.

Content

I took the content from the Hop On Hop Off website, some of the general blurb on the places that were part of the tour. Also, Googled images and flags.

Translation

I used google translate and just copied/pasted the Engish in and asked for the relevant traslation.

First iteration

At my first attempt I couldn’t get it working in one app, so ended up with a top level app that linked to 3 sub apps – in English, German & Chinese.

Also at the first attempt, on the front page, when it set up, would only show a list of items rather than a variety of items. This led to having an image of a flag that you clicked on for a language and it took you to a sub-page, and there you could click a button to go to the specific language site. Not elegant.

The layout from the initial page setup I have chosen tiles and it lets you choose a Title/Details/Image & image size and it will list them all in the same manner as per your spreadsheet. NOTE the DETAIL option at the bottom of the list. That allows you to choose individual components
Because the button is related to all 3 sub-pages, it can only have the same text in each, in this example, English. So not an elegant solution

Second iteration

I found, on the 2nd day, that if you select DETAILS in the LAYOUT list then you can choose selected individual components to put on the page, so tailor your layout. So instead of having a button that has the same text or language, you can have individual buttons that have different text/language. Like the first image in the article. I could also add a bit more detail to the front page, so if you scroll down there is the company’s website link/ contact details etc and other details. This could easily be split onto another page, especially if there were a lot of translated languages.

On the individual language sites I also had 2 tabs, the first was to the sites that the Hop On Hop Off bus stopped at, with an image and a description in the specific language. If you clicked on the image it took you to a more detailed description with an image, some descriptive notes about the site, a web link button and a map. I also allowed for a comments box at the bottom if anyone wanted to add comments about the site.

The comments field may be important, so maybe a button to the comments field, or move the comments field up so it is more prominent may be important.

Other information tab

The buses go at regular times and there may be potential for missing a bus that can leave you stranded in the wrong place. So I thought of adding some fundamental information for visitors to the city. A separate tab with general useful information such as Police/Ambulance/Hospital/After Hour pharmacy, bus timetable site, taxi and uber taxi links.

Panoramas

I thought of adding panoramas to the site and tried it, but the setup I have for them is based on a PC so I need to adjust the panorama sizes to try and scale them for a mobile device. I may or may not do this. I need to take some panorama pictures at a couple of locations , its raining today, so not ideal for photo taking, but its more about technical aspect rather than actual photo.

The nice thing about panoramas are hot spots. Especially for views from the lookout where there are so many things to see. You could have hot spots for the Beehive, Vic Uni on the hill, Westpac stadium, Civic square, airport, etc. A feature that could enhance the viewers experience.

End comment

I sent a link to the app in an email to a couple of the tour companies to see if they were interested in developing the app. I had to send them out otherwise I’d carry on fiddling with the app, which I dont want to do.

I’m very please with the result. I think the app looks quite slick. I can see elaborations and enhancements I can make to this app.

I can see this as a simple, handy tool for say museums and art galleries to get better engagement with their visitors. Also for temporary events as its easy to mock up. Using QR code to link to the device is easy if people are familiar with the tool.

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