For this unit, we are working on a live brief with BU’s RedBalloon Agency to create an app for Salisbury Cathedrals Magna Carta exhibition. The app will consist of a series of exploratory interactive and educational works that can be accessed while walking round the Cathedral. Each agency (4-5 students) will create a component of the app, for example mini games, treasure hunts, photo edits, and video experiences. The agencies will be formed based on each students interests and initial response to the brief, which will be presented as a moodboard.
For this uni, it is important to continue to follow the iterative design processes: Requirements Gathering, Analysis, Design, and User Testing. Following this process will allow constant refinements/improvements to be made throughout the unit, hence making the end product more successful. It is also important to talk with the clients regularly, to receive guidance and ensure the app meets their needs and expectations. A number of trips will be organised to Salisbury Cathedral in order to gather information and analyse the public space.
To create the app, we will be learning Xcode, and device specific app development for IOS. This programming language is new to me and I look forward to learning more about it. I will blog about relevant programming techniques that I have learnt in workshops and reflect on how it is useful for the app component my group create. It is important to work well as a team, applying different roles to members: programmers, designer, producer and content creator. This will ensure that work is divided up equally and reflects professional design agencies.
I will go on to begin the requirements gathering stage, by researching the Magna Carta and creating a moodboard to visually show my initial response to the brief. I will also go on to review some iterative design methodologies that my group could adhere to, in order to remain professional throughout the process of this live brief .
Overall, I feel I successfully created a piece of interactive information design for the shared public space, which intends to elucidate/explain an idea or concept. I am happy with my final piece and felt that it worked well with the target audience (see users interacting with piece). I have learnt a lot by doing this project, both the programming side as well as following an iterative design process. The concept that my piece applies to is Surrealism, this concept interests me and looking at various surreal art work and photography really inspired me for my piece. I have used surrealist techniques in my piece such as the juxtaposition of falling objects, repetition of shapes, as well as ideas relating to the blurring boundaries between the real and imaginary. Throughout my blog, I have linked the theory modules that I have studied to my practice (media and history, and consumer culture) as I feel that this is important; it has developed my understandings and allowed me to use more theoretical analysis. I used an iterative design process to produce my piece, which allowed me to constantly gain feedback, and make improvements that have helped to make my end piece more successful. The iterative design processes that I followed were:
– Requirements Gathering
– User Testing
To view blog posts related to each iteration, then click on the individual categories. Throughout my blog you can clearly see the development of my piece: from learning the basics of programming, to watching tutorials, analysing existing examples, experimenting with various ideas, improving the piece, and finally to users interacting with my final piece.
Here is the basic pseudo code for my idea:
This has allowed me to briefly see the steps I need to follow in order produce my interactive piece and the processing knowledge I need. I need to ensure that I have sufficient knowledge in video capturing, object orientated programming, motion thresholding and conditional statements. Next, I will go on to further explore the concept of surrealism, of which my piece will relate to, as well as developing my processing knowledge.
Pseudo-code is a informal notation resembling a simplified programming language. Pseudo-code can be applied to all programming languages and is a helpful step in order to process various ideas into code. It is a simply written, step by step structure, to help write the actual programming language. Using pseudo-code can be beneficial as it allows us to plan work more thoroughly rather than jumping straight into programming. However, it is a extra step that sometimes isn’t always necessary for advanced programers. Here is a simple example of both a flowchart and pseudo-code in order to make a cup of tea:
The steps are simple for anyone to understand and from this can be transferred into the required programming language. For my project, I am using Java within Processing and as I am not advanced in this language I could use pseudo-code in order to structure my idea and help me to transform it into code. I feel by doing this it would be beneficial, as it will help me to fully plan my idea and enable me to clearly see whether it is realistic to achieve by the deadline. By carrying out efficient planning, it can then result in a more efficient development process and means that fewer problems arise during coding. Next, I will go on to further plan out my idea and write out a basic pseudo-code for it.
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.
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.