Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Usability Group Project

I've just finished editing the film demonstrator for our Interactive Map. The film shows how users can use the interface to navigate the City.
I've uploaded it to youtube.

Also just uploaded the completed interface. HERE

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Other Stuff - Visit to Liverpool

Last weekend I went to Liverpool to visit family. I had the chance to visit some of the cities galleries and museums. Next year the city is going to be the European Capital of Culture and so has recently had big investment put in to the Arts.
By chance some of the exhibitions were very relevant to what I have been learning on the course. So I've posted what I saw so you can have a look too.

The first was at the Liverpool World Museum. The Exhibition was entitled Animated Adventures and it aimed to take you behind the scenes of animated film making, right from the ideas stage, to set design, cell painting, stop frame, CGI and sound design. It’s main feature was Aardman and the making of their last film – Curse of the Were-rabbit.

I thought the exhibition was fantastic. Not only because I love animation but also because the exhibition itself was so good. It was a brightly coloured, easily accessible, fun multimedia exhibition. It mainly comprised of covered walls with snippets of information, pictures, video footage and actual sets and puppets from the film. All arranged in order of the process of making the film.

The best bit came at the end, when you were allowed to ‘play’ with the interactive parts of the exhibition. These ‘booths’ aimed to demonstrate how animation is created by allowing users to create their own.
Using a very simple interface and a stage with props such as toys and letters. You simply placed or moved items on the stage and pressed a big red ‘record’ button to record a frame. When you had finished you simply press play and your animation is shown on a large screen above the booth for you and other visitors to see. The other booths included cell painting in which you colour your own animated characters and sound design where you press buttons to trigger sound over some animated footage. The interfaces were very easy to use and while I was there I saw people of all ages using and enjoying them. These were highly interactive, multi user, informative and very immersive interfaces.

Link to the website HERE

The next exhibition I saw was entitled ‘Centre of the creative universe. Liverpool and the Avant-Garde.’

It aimed to exhibit a unique account of Liverpool’s art scene and how the city has inspired a diverse range of nationally and internationally renowned artists.
For me the exhibition did exactly what it aimed to do, I saw many diverse works and learned how the city had inspired each one of them.
The best bit about the exhibition though was the design of the map which showed all the links between the Avant-Garde and the city itself. The map was used as promotional material for the exhibition as well as covering the entire wall in front of the doors as you enter the exhibition. I thought that it was a good example of well designed information architecture.

Website HERE

The final thing I got to see was at the Walker art gallery. The gallery has recently built a new facility called ‘Big Art’. It’s objective is to get young children, up to age 8, to engage and understand more about the art on display in the museum. The designers constructed things like trails and quizzes for the children to take part on their visit. Within the facility itself the children take part in different activities, ranging from dressing up as people in the paintings and taking photos of each other to using touch screen interfaces to play different games related to specific works. Among other interactive areas, there was one where the children had to pair up and work as a team. They communicated by phones on different sides of the room. One had to describe objects in boxes on the wall next to them, each object could be found in a painting in the gallery. The other had to draw it on an LCD screen, based on the description from the other child, when they drew it correctly they could open another box.

The website for ‘BIG ART’ can be found HERE.

I thought that there were some really good examples of interaction design. I thought that they would get young children excited about going to the gallery and in turn learn more about why the paintings are important, how they were created and more about the people in them.