Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview

Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.

Video highlights from the apps (36-minute version)

This montage provides a sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Button redesign, as part of prep for public launch in June

We are redesigning the look of the FVM app to better reflect our growing partnership with the National Park Service, as we prepare to move parts of the FVM app out of beta testing and into a public product (where the other parts will go is covered here).

To recap, we want to move away from the lone arrowhead button, because of the conflicts that icon might cause with the branding of National Park Service apps in the future. We also want to match the style and standards being set by the National Park Service, through its National Mall and Memorial Parks app.

So the buttons here show the trademark black bar on the top, and the menu screen uses the National Mall app as inspiration for the fort version. The image on the menu screen is for spacing purposes only, and an image will need to be selected in the near future, if we use photography (rather than illustration; that page also could be a graphic). The menu bar is shown on the bottom here, but it also could be placed on the side. Text also likely will need to be added. ...

From here, we need to decide which of these button ideas (or suggest another one) will replace the arrowhead button we are using now and give lead designer Marsha Matta feedback about the designs, in terms of what you like, what you don't like, etc. ... We have a design committee looking at these, too, but we also want to open the process up to the public as much as possible. So, if you have a comment, please post it here.


Per the comments, here are the images mentioned:

From Greg Shine:

From Kapuanani Antonio:


  1. Comments from the design committee:

    Greg Shine:

    "I prefer the rough icon #3, as it is simple, recognizable, and elegant (qualitative terms, I'll admit).

    To me, the flag icons (#1 & #4 ) are beautiful, but by using the HBC flag
    they limit the app to the Fur Trade Era, when it is designed to have a
    greater breadth. Also, the flag has imperial & colonial connotations that
    don't best represent the working class employee and American Indian story
    that we're trying to connect people with. Color-wise, they are beautiful,

    I'm not sure that #2 will represent well as an icon. It might look strange.
    I prefer a bolder image that will render well a small size.

    I like the opening screen image, too, but it made me think of another
    viewpoint that might show the fort from the Village perspective (and
    include a Village house). I can try to locate the image I'm thinking of or
    pop out and take a test shot.

    Again, this is a great start, and I really appreciate the opportunity to
    review such impressive work."

  2. From the design committee:

    Kapuanani Antonio:


    If using a photograph, I agree with Greg about the bold image of the
    stockade tower in Rough #3. It's pretty recognizable and would look the
    best at a small size. Although I like the compositional placement of it
    better in the first rough (minus the flag as per Greg's suggestions).
    Negative space is ok. (Is that blue real? You cant really see the sky
    through the windows can you?)

    Once you get to their menu screen, it seems the Mall images rotate and it
    would be nice to use a few images if you can: tower, early morning apple
    tree shot, village shot...etc."

    1. I posted a graphic to the main thread that Kapuanani created to illustrate her points

  3. I really like the HBC flag and how it swoops across the black bar. It is very eye-catching, and it makes the statement that this was not originally an American site, for better or worse. But I also agree with Greg that it limits the app to just the fur trade era, and it does have connotations of colonialism and such. The bastion of the fort is iconic, and it is a good idea to harness the power of that well-known icon. But the photo of the bastion does not do much for me. Therefore, I would like to see the bastion stylized through illustration in some way, with that visual style carried forth into an illustrated menu page. I just think we would have more flexibility -- for adding text, focusing on imagery and symbolism, controlling the colors, etc. -- with an illustrated approach to the button and menu page than with a photograph. We will have so much photography within the app, too, that I think we can distinguish the aesthetics of this piece better through an illustrated form at the entry point.