Monday, March 29, 2010

Some Great Feedback

Last week I had my midterm review for my thesis class and then, coincidentally I had a full out crit on my website in my Advanced Web Class. I'll break it down here, because both crits were really useful and truly helped me take my work to the next level.

THESIS CRIT -( Tuesday)
For the midterm review I had three critics- Anthony Deen, Marco Tandefelt and Chris Prentice. Anthony, my studio professor is an architect who focuses on the integration of technology into his work. He is also very interested in community development and I feel that he has been a good advisor for me because of this innate understanding of the connection between public land and it's actual use by residents. Marco is a physical computing professor in the department, and I think because my project is anything BUT physical computing- he was able to offer up some good outsider advise. Chris, is my writing professor for thesis, however she is so much more. Anezka told us that Chris has an expertise in writing grants, and focusing on academic writing. However, I find that Chris is one of the few people who have really helped me to see the importance of my work and how the message of the project could be extended beyond the thesis.

Okay, so enough with the introductions. Here are the highlights of my feedback:
  • I need to present my "big picture" ideas in a different way, because it is not communicating all of the legs of the project. Chris referred to this by saying I need a "30,000 ft map" of the project and Marco said that I needed to do a sales pitch, (which for some reason as I was standing up there made me think of Crazy Eddy from tv- we've got cables, we've got widescreen tv's....)
  • I need to give clear user scenarios about the project. What would the experience be for a teacher vs a student?
  • I need to describe the different levels of goals for different developmental age ranges.
  • Everyone responded positively to my new web design (thank goodness I was very n vous about this) but Anthony noted that I now need to refine it in terms of communication vs. design.
  • Finally, as I knew, I need to show some of my user testing.
Overall, all of this was really useful. I am going to make some time to meet with Chris and Anthony to talk about how I can achieve these suggestions, and really polish up my presentation for the symposium. The end is neigh!!!!

WEB DESIGN (Thursday crit)
I have to say that this was a refreshing crit. It has been a rare thing to get specific feedback on my designs in this program, usually the crits are focused on concept- which is fine, but sometimes you just need feedback. For this crit, my entire web class gave me feedback, as well as my professor Jay Van Buren. Jay has worked with a variety of clients, and is known for his work with non-profits and fine art institutions.

Highlights:
  • think about the bubble background- maybe reducing the amount of bubbles and adding a more obvious gradient to achieve a "wave" effect.
  • ABOUT page- split the page up into three pages. This will allow for tiered sponsors.
  • TAGLINE- move the tagline to live underneath the logo. This came up in both crits. Apparently, placing it where I did, above the navigation produces legibility issues.
  • the crab= "awesome", I need to go back and bring that same animated quality to the seagull and oyster. They don't have the same strength as the crab. (Chris also gave me this feedback so I am looking forward to doing this).
  • LANDING page- I need to make the current beach conditions more kid friendly.
  • There was also the suggestion of moving the characters to live just off the bubble shape. I need to try this out though, because I am not sure how it will look. I like how the whole site looks a bit like a big sticker.
And that's all. I am just going to keep chugging along and make my way to the end of the semester.

CUNY on Wheels has signed on!

A brief bit of exciting news- CUNY on Wheels will be donating a bus for the Earth Day launch. This is exciting, because the Earth Day celebration will be happening totally on the beach, so we are doing some mock workshops that will be on the beach but then we will also be user testing the website on the CUNY buses. These buses are fully equipped with computers and movie screens so it is quite an interesting opportunity. I mean, check out the bus in this picture- it's legit.

7 Scenes Test

A few weeks back I participated in a 7 Scenes test which was part of a MacArthur grant for a project that asked high schools to take part in making design decisions about the neighborhood surrounding their school. I really love the idea of this project. The test that I took part in was really just familiarizing the students (and some of the faculty) at Taft High School in the Bronx with the technology. We walked around with the kids in groups and showed them how to operate the 7 Scenes program on the Nokia N95 cell phones and then we took a walking tour around the school grounds. Prior to the test, the teachers programmed a 'scene' for the students to try out which included some interesting historical tid-bits about their school and the goal of the test was to get the students to think about how they could enhance the scene, and make it more into a game format. The group of students who I lead were extremely articulate and, exceptionally well versed in critiquing technology.


Projects like this are exciting because they use mobile technology to augment the natural environment so that students can see it with a critical eye. I would like to continue to think about ways to implement this kind of project with students in Far Rockaway. It would be fantastic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Midterm Presentation

This is my last midterm----- EVER!!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Presentation for Parks Department

Quiz Game Progress

Here is a little slide show of where I am with the quiz game. Basically I made 15 questions to start. The game is now not leveled. I need to develop the curriculum and then make 30 more questions - 2 more levels of 15. Also- I need to work on the code, the animations for what happens when you get something right vs. wrong, make an intro panel and design the music. I guess this could also be without music.