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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Redesign: Twitta-graphs, or whatever they are ...

Letters, journal entries, and other historical documents from the mid-1800s have been converted through this app into timely dispatches, like social media streams, to represent the words as well as the spirit of period communication. While the idea seems simple, the creation of such a stream has been challenging in many ways. Here is the look of the Twitta-graph (a Twitter-Telegraph combo) at the end of the development cycle, with designer Marsha Matta's vision applied:

The previous version was more colorful, but we were trying to create a thematic look that could be carried throughout the app. This version was primarily designed by me (Brett Oppegaard), with help from Kapuanani Antonio. Part of the skimming of the colors was part of the evening out of the overall app design. Also, of course, we transformed the app from a horizontal view to a vertical view, to match the look of other National Park Service apps. Here was the previous version:

The version before that:

The version before that:

As you can see, at the beginning, I didn't even know the right size to make the box or how to format the text (forget about higher-end aesthetics). But each design has to start somewhere, and this image is the first of the slides created:

So the essence of the idea was to create Twitter handles for historical characters (and there really are these handles on Twitter; although we haven't done anything else with them yet). And to give them a profile, per the text underneath the handle, and then, to let them speak, pretty much as they did in the historical documents, but using hashtags and @handles and other contemporary conventions through that specific social media stream. We had hoped to give them a modern voice, but, as our research turned up, combining old English and Twitter-jargon does not necessarily generate clarity. In fact, it created a double-whammy of confusion for many of our test subjects, either thrown off by one or the other. The newest design, we hope, will help to address such confusion. ... We will be testing that more this summer.

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