ThingLink made it very easy to dive into 360 image editing and tour creation. But as with any developing technology, we have run into some technical challenges.
We had to experiment a bit to find the best picture size for the custom tags that have side-by-side text and image. This is complicated by the fact that the longer your title and subtitle text, the narrower the space remaining for the image. In general, the pictures that worked best in these tags were between 350x250 pixels and 300x200 pixels.
Note the small pixel sizes. Our first draft tour included a number of full sized images captured with a mobile phone. These took forever to load, often causing beta-testers to assume there was no image, and close the tag before the picture became visible. Cropping all images down as small as possible without loss of quality dramatically improved load time.
One of our testers asked if it was possible to wrap the text so that it didn't run beyond the tag boundary. She sent us screen shots that made it clear that in the version of Internet Explorer she was using, the tags weren't rendering well at all.
Further exploration revealed that the older version of Internet Explorer that is installed by default on most of the computers on our campus cannot handle ThingLink tours. In full screen mode all of the tags disappear, and even when the tags are visible, they are not readable. Microsoft Edge handles the HTML5 in ThingLink beautifully, as does Chrome and Firefox.
In the rest of our testing we have made sure the students were using Chrome or Firefox, since Edge isn't yet available on the computers in our instruction lab. But we clearly are concerned that when deployed more broadly on campus, these browser issues could cause student frustration.
When we tested our beta tour on Android and Apple phones, a few viewer issues on small mobile devices became apparent.
Tag text is dramatically abbreviated, with priority placed on readability of the titles and action buttons.
Tags placed too closely together become difficult to open.
Otherwise, we really enjoyed the way that on mobile devices you pan the device to view the screen, as if the phone were a little window onto a room-sized 360 scene.