Target Audience

The target audience for my project are runners, specifically those seeking to train for an upcoming event. The website aims to cater for a range of runners all varying in experience, from first times to professionals. It aims to achieve this through providing training plans of different difficulties.

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Runners would use the website in order to not only informatively guide them through the necessary training but also to motivate them to get all the set runs done. From personal experience, training for a marathon is intense and requires high levels of motivation and commitment. Thus, using Strava and gamification elements (can only unlock the next week once runs have been tracked on Strava) it helps to motivate users through their training. Testing with the target audience is crucial and a process I will continually undertake. I am a member of a running club so will regularly test my work with the club. I will gain feedback and opinions from runners throughout all the process, allowing me to continuously modify the website to make it more successful with its intended users.

Displaying Interactive Piece at Redweb

I had the opportunity to display my interactive project on Redweb’s window. My project was displayed for the week and proved to be successful with users. Passing by were interacting the piece, trying to obstruct the various falling shapes. Due to it being down a busy road, my project was noticed by many users and also made it onto Redweb’s website (http://windowreflections.redweb.com/):

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I went down to get some pictures and videos of users interacting with my project. However, due to the sunlight and the bright light from the projector the images and videos didn’t come out as expected. Therefore, here is a visual of what it looked like to users:

redweb

Here is a screen recording of when I initially put my project up and tested it with the guys at Redweb:

Random people walking past the window, stopped and asked about the project and some choose to further interact with it. The project worked better when users were wearing darker clothing as this meant they appeared as more silhouette-like figures. The shapes did unfortunately get obstructed by the parked cars on the roads. To overcome this, next time I will look more thoroughly into background subtraction. Overall, I am pleased with my interactive project and I am happy with the outcome and the responses it received when displayed at Redweb.

Testing in Public Space

Here are the some videos of users interacting with my piece in the public space:

I feel that these show that my piece was successful in the public space as all users were easily able to interact with the piece without difficulty and they understood that they could use their body to obstruct the surreal falling shapes. I think that users enjoyed interacting with my piece and found it quite fun. The fact that multiple users can interact at once was good as it meant those that were more shy to interact could join others rather the interacting singularly. Also, those that didn’t wish to participate themselves were still able to see the piece. At the time of displaying my piece, the public space was fairly busy meaning I was able to get a fair few people to interact and many who watched the tv screen to see what was going on.

Barthes (1964 p.148) believes that

‘the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author’.

I feel that this can apply to my piece, as the power is given purely to the users. They are able to interact in any way they want, and without direction from me (author/producer), the users (readers) were able to understand my piece and seemed to enjoy interacting with it. It is the users that then appear on the tv screen of which passers by can see, meaning that they actually become a part of my piece. As mentioned in a previous post, Gray (2010 p.166) also suggests that

‘a text only becomes a text, only gains social meaning and relevance, at the point that it comes alive with its audience.’

This highlights how in order for a text to be successful then it needs to have an audience. I feel that my target audience seemed to enjoy interacting with my piece and users had fun obstructing the falling shapes in various ways. Some viewed the piece on the portable tv screen and asked questions, showing that they were interested and intrigued with the piece but maybe were too embarrassed to interact in front of others.

Overall, I am pleased with the end result and feel that my piece worked well within the public space. Next, I will go on to briefly evaluate my piece in relation to the brief, and discuss the iterative processes that I followed.

Barthes, R, 1964. Elements Of Semiology. New York: Hill and Wang.

Gray, J, 2010. Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts. New York and London: New York University Press.

Active Audiences

Contemporary audiences are more active consumers of media texts. For my interactive infographic, it requires my target audience to be active and interact with my piece. The rise of interactivity within contemporary media texts highlights the changing consumption habits of audiences, from passivity to activity. Cover (2006 cited by Macek 2013) describes interactivity as

‘a culturally motivated and historically variable desire to participate in textuality.’

Audiences involvement with texts is increasing; not only by interacting more with the producers’ final media text/piece, but also with the production of texts. This relates to an iterative design process as it is important to engage with the audience at all stages within the process in order to gain useful advice and feedback. For my piece, audiences will hopefully engage with the final piece, but it is essential that throughout I involve the audience with the production and development of my piece. Jenkins (2006, p.60) suggests that:

‘Consumption becomes production; reading becomes writing; spectator culture becomes participatory culture.’

I feel that Jenkins ideas can apply to my target audience as well as to contemporary culture. I’m aware that individuals may participate with my final piece in various ways, some may prefer to spectate whereas others will be more willing to participate. Jenkins idea of ‘consumption becomes production’ relates to Lister et al (2003, p.10), as they believe that:

‘we have seen a shift from ‘audiences’ to ‘users’, and from ‘consumers’ to ‘producers’

This highlights the increasing power that contemporary audiences now have with media texts, and relates to theory I studied in first year regarding fandom, user-generated content and authorship. This shift also relates to a theory unit I have recently studied, Media and History. It highlight the importance of exploring history, as in this case it helps our understandings of contemporary theory debates regarding audiences.

From this, I feel it is extremely important to continuously engage with my target audience throughout the development of my interactive piece. For my piece to be successful, it needs to appeal to its audience and as Gray (2010, p.166) says

‘a text only becomes a text, only gains social meaning and relevance, at the point that it comes alive with its audience.’

I aim to do this by regularly including the audience within the production of the piece in order to gain ideas and useful feedback. As well as making the final piece easy for all individuals to actively interact with.

References:

Gray, J, 2010. Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts. New York and London: New York University Press.

Jenkins, H, 2006. Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. London: New York University Press.

Lister, M, Dovey, J, Giddings, S, Grant, I, and Kelly, K, 2003. New Media: A Critical Introduction [online]. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge.

Macek, J, 2013. More than a desire for text: Online participation and the social curation of content. In: Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies [online], 19(3), 295-302.

Public Space – Weymouth House

By carrying out the group task of creating an Independent Dorset Poster, it has allowed me to practice with following an iterative design process, something that I will follow for my individual interactive piece. It has also helped as the information I gathered about the public space and the audience will come in useful for when I put my interactive piece in the space. Here is what I have learnt about….

The Public Space:

  • It is large space, with a layout that directs you straight through the space. People walk through to go lectures, but it is also a social area for meeting friends and grabbing a costa/food.
  • The area gets especially busy around lunch time, as well as in the 20 minute time period of 10 mins before lectures and 10 minutes after.
  • Various screens that are positioned in line of people walking.

The People:

  • Demographic is mainly students, and as it is the Media School the majority could be media students.
  • There are few Staff and Visitors.
  • Depending on why people are using the space alters whether they are likely to look at the screens – whether they are sitting down or walking through the space quickly etc.
  • The visitors are more likely to look at the screens as they are new to the space rather than students that frequently use the space.

The Activities:

  • Over a 10 minute period from 12:50 till 1:00 we found that:

-77 people walked through the space
-12 people bought Costa
-7 people were working
-21 people were socialising
-2 people looked at displays

The Visuals/Graphics:

  • The more colourful visuals gain more attention and stand out more in the space.
  • People are more drawn to the poster/screens when there are less people in the space.
  • Graphics are not as noticed when the space in busier.
  • The two main screens that are opposite Costa draw the most attention.

From this, I feel it would be useful to go back to the space at different times of the day to analyse when would be best to display my interactive piece. Also, I think it would be good if I were to further consider which screen would be best to display my piece on. When I display my piece, I will ensure I ask more questions in order to gain more responses and evaluate whether the piece was successful or not. Next, I will go on to explore prototypes, and develop my idea for my interactive piece.