Filming Setanta’s Challenge

Setanta’s Challenge is the first of the two bilingual Navan Fort heritage apps. Setanta’s Challenge aims to bring the rich mythological heritage of Navan Fort to life for the under-12s. The app features an interactive treasure hunt and video footage that recount the adventures of Setanta/ Cú Chulainn at Navan Fort.

King Conor and his men are suffering from the curse of Macha and are trapped at the top of the mound. You must find  Cú Chulainn’s weapons which are hidden around the fort to defeat Meabh’s spies and free King Conor and his men.


The following gallery contains photographs from filming Setanta’s Challenge video sequences.  Antaine filmed the video for the app with the help of the  Irish Arms …

Smartphone ownership in UK Overview

Some background information on smartphone ownership in the UK to help better understand and target the appropriate audience for the Navan Fort Heritage apps. This is a summary of my blog post Tablet and Smartphone Ownership in UK and cites  OFCOM’s latest reports: Market Communications Report July 2013 and Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes October 2013.

young boy with smartphone
29% of children aged 5-15 own a smartphone

Half of UK adults own a smartphone

The OFCOM Communications Market Report found that smartphone and tablet ownership in the UK had risen sharply and nearly three-quarters of all handsets sold (74%) in Q1 2013, were smartphones. Half of all adults (51%) in the UK now own a smartphone; although ownership varies significantly with age with three-quarters of 16-24 year olds (77%) compared to 11% of 65-74 year olds own a smartphone.

In February 2013, 30% of web traffic came from a smartphone or tablet

The majority of  smartphone owners (96%) use their device to access the internet and in Q1 2013, 49% of UK adults accessed the internet on their handset. In February 2013, nearly a third of webpage traffic (30%) came from mobile phones (23%) and tablets (8%) whereas desktop and laptop browsing declined by 20% .

29% of children aged 5-15 own a smartphone

The OFCOM Media Use and Attitudes report found that 20% of 3-4 year olds, 22% of 5-7s, half of 8-11s and 89% of 12-15s had used a smartphone and smartphone ownership among under-16s had increased to 29%. The percentage of children owning a smartphone increases with the age of the child from 0% – 89%. Low ownership levels are recorded among 3-8 year olds but this begins to rise from the age of 9 years and outstrips non-smartphone ownership by the age of 11. Only 1% of 5-7 year olds, 18% of 8-11s and 62% of 12-15s own a smartphone.

Nearly a quarter of UK households have a tablet computer

small girl uses tablet
28% of 3-4 year olds have used a tablet computer at home

The OFCOM Communications Market Report  found that tablet ownership had more than doubled to 24% of UK households, and 29% of NI households. However, just under half (46%) of these tablets are 3G-enabled and only 20% of tablet owners have a mobile subscription for a 3G connection. Three-quarters (76%) of parents owning tablets consider them a useful tool for entertaining and/or educating their children. Four in five parents said their children used a tablet computer at least weekly, with two in five reporting daily use by their children and 17% saying their children use it more than once a day.

42% of 5-15 year olds and 28% of 3-4s use a tablet computer at home

The OFCOM Media Literacy October 2013 report found that children’s access to tablets had doubled, with half of households with 3-15 year olds owning a tablet. 42% of 5-15 year olds and one-quarter (28%) of 3-4s use a tablet computer at home. Almost a quarter of children use tablets to access the internet and 12% of 3-4 year-olds have used a tablet computer to go online. Tablet ownership among children increases with age; 3% of 3-4 year olds, 13% of 5-7s, 18% of 8-11s and one-quarter of children aged 12– 15 (26%) have their own tablet computer.

Teachers estimate that by 2015, a quarter of pupil-facing computers will be tablets

BESA, the British education suppliers association, surveyed 500 UK schools and found that 6 per cent of all pupil-facing computers in schools are tablets (4.5 per cent in primary, 6.9 per cent in secondary). The schools surveyed, forecast that by the end of 2013 the percentage of tablets will have risen to 10% and by the end of 2015 this is predicted to rise to 24 per cent of all pupil-facing computers.

Navan Fort photographs

IPhone displaying map at Navan Fort

Testing the GPS on the iPhone at Navan Fort

I spent the second half of the brainstorming day testing the accessibility and GPS / 3G signals of the proposed routes  for the Navan Fort Heritage apps. I was delighted to discover that the GPS and 3G worked well across the Navan Fort site. I’ve mapped and photographed a possible journey around the site. This will enable us to better design the route of both heritage apps.

View Navan Fort Photographs in a larger map

I found that my research into history of Navan Fort helped me to recognise and understand the landscape better which made for a more rewarding visit. That sense of enjoyment which stems from a recognition and understanding of our surroundings is a key aim for the both Navan Fort apps.

Brainstorm day 2 at Navan Centre

The aim of the second day of brainstorming was to scope out the gameplay for the two Navan Heritage Apps.

A review of the app user-testing sessions

First on the agenda was a discussion about the Ghosts of Nendrum and Siege! at Carrickfergus Castle app user-testing session. The group felt that the Ghosts of Nendrum’s interactivity and use of repeative audio feedback suited the KS2 (9-11 age group) whereas the Siege! of Carrickfergus Castle’s use of complex narrative and language made it suitable for teenagers. A group discussion of the pros and cons of different technologies such as the GPS and the accelerometer followed and it was decided that further technical testing on location was needed. The testing sessions also highlighted the importance of providing WiFi on location to make the apps accessible to all visitors.

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User-testing Heritage Apps

On Saturday we headed down to Nendrum Monastery to try out the Ghosts of Nendrum app. User-testing existing heritage apps should enable the group to identify the possibilities and limitations of using mobile devices for interpretation. This experience will  feed into our next brainstorming session where we will explore the structure and functionality of the Navan Fort Heritage Apps.

After a few light rain showers, the sun came out in time for our trip to Carrickfergus Castle to user-test the Siege! at Carrickfergus Castle app.


Navan Fort Apps Brainstorm 1- themes

Antaine O’Donnaile from Macha Media and Ellen Bell from Digital Key joined CAIRDE Teo and the SEAS Enterprise group for a brainstorming session at the Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency. After some initial research into the mythology and archaeology of the site, it was  time to focus our efforts into shaping the themes and narratives for the Eamhain Mhacha Heritage Apps project. The brief is to create two interactive, multi-media mobile apps located at Navan Fort, one for young children and their families and the other for older teenagers and adults. The apps will contain multi-media resources in the form of adventure games triggered by satellite GPS. The apps will be for the benefit of the local community as well as tourists visiting the area and would be available in the Irish language as well as English.

The aim of the brainstorming session was to ascertain which characteristics of Navan Fort made it unique and engaging for visitors. We needed to identify the learning outcomes  and the themes to be used to engage each target audience.  The session was broken down into stages in order to gradually build up a more detailed description of the target user and the content of the app.

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