Archive for Marie Williams

Critical Evaluation of my prototype

Introduction 

My initial idea for this project was to produce a website for the band “Monday Street”; this idea developed through looking at new and innovative ideas that were becoming top hits in the new media sector of the Industry; it was the idea of the “Mobile Content” that caught my eye.

 The idea was to use produce an application that could be used on the phone for Sony Ericsson W810i, it would be a website for the band, and would be able to be viewed through the Internet browser on this phone. 

After researching and pitching my idea I got going with the designs and was making some good progress until I decided to test my idea using my using my Dads mobile which was the Sony Ericsson W810i. I was also getting my friend Sarah to test on her phone, giving an un biased upon of the idea, the design and so forth. It wasn’t until I was about to set up my prototype for testing that I realised there were two major things I had forgotten about; one being the ability of the user to scan through to other pages by clicking on the links, and then also the ability for each user of this phone to be able to connect to the Internet; both these problems made my prototype incompatible with Sony Ericsson W810i. 

It was from this that I radically decided to change my prototype, scrapping all my previous work and producing the prototype for a Pocket PC user.  I researched into the Pocket PC, the screen sizes, what version of Flash I needed to use and so fourth, I then quickly designed and continued to attempt to put together my prototype in time for the deadline.             

  Major Errors with my prototype 

The Loading Page

As I wanted to add some advanced script into my work, I wanted to add some random movement and decided that the best place for this would be the loading page of my prototype. As you will see the code works, the loading moves randomly but you can’t get any further than that page unless you press the Enter button on your keyboard, this means the users can’t get any further than the loading page, which obviously is ridiculous. With extra time, I would have been able to work out the way in which the random movement only occurs for a number of seconds/frames and then jumps on to the home page automatically. I have tried to play around with the looping but this makes the rest of the project either speed up or it continues to loop.  

The Video

 As you will see, I have attempt to upload a video onto my prototype, as you will see the video is not of very good quality and has no sound attached to it. Although this makes the prototype look horrible, I thought that it was best for there to be some kind of video present, than there to be a blank space with noting on it. It shows that I can use Flash to upload videos even if this one isn’t entirely finished off. I am still waiting on approval to use the bands recording of their live gigs. 

Play List

This is one area I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get working properly. I have previously embedded sound in flash, but thought for this project I would take it one step further and work out how to create a play list; however even after looking at numerous tutorials about uploading a number of different sounds to one frame, loading different buttons with rollovers and key presses indicating the start the song, I just cant figure out to get each song to stop and the next one to start and so its just one song playing a million times. This is one area I am going to continue to work on as I need play lists on my website for my final year project.

Time Management

Once again I have left my self down and have run out of time, this is an area in which I need to get hold of before I complete my final year project, I don’t want to be running out of time on this and leave myself short; I have had to rush my final pages, and so the finishing off in Flash is not of the standard that I wanted. I haven’t been able to add a play list; I would have like to have made more transitions and all the links and action script work properly. I now know I should have taken Scott’s advice to make a timeline to make sure that each week I had completed and ticked it off what I had completed on my timeline; therefore I will be making one of these and using it as a guideline to make sure I finish my next project with more than enough time to test, make improvements, test again and then publish.

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Testing

Although I left my self short of time to test the prototype through the Pocket PC itself I am as near on completion to the final product as I will be without the rest of the information needed so I decided to get the band themselves to test the prototype. I asked them to look at the design style, layout, content and general usability. I needed them to tell me of any errors, any mistakes and any thing they didn’t like about the prototype. This then gave me some kind of idea of what the rest of the target audience thought. The feedback was as follows: 

Design:

§         The band liked the way that I incorporated their “fat man” poster into the prototype as this is recognised by many of the fans as their main advertising image.

§         The colour and use of brushes was deemed to be creative, but in some places a little over the top.

§         The mixture of colours was good, by taking a hint of green and yellow out of the “fat man” poster and incorporating this into a new and different style.

Layout

:§         Easy to use and follow.

§         All links worked properly apart from the loading page and error at the beginning

.§         They liked that it didn’t have the same layout as every other website and that I referred to and had a link to their popular MySpace page.

Content:

§         The news and tour dates’ section needs to be updated with up to date information and needs to be bulked out.

§         Like the idea of the video section – now need to gain permission from manager to use their video not the one that is in place at the moment.

§         Didn’t like the idea of the image place holder page; thought it looked too cramped and so told me to take this off (appendix one).

§         The idea of the play list would work well as it would offer an other area where people can listen to their music, but once again permission is needed from management team.Although I didn’t test the prototype through the medium it will be broadcast from, this form of testing has enabled me to change a few bits of the design, layout and content, which will inevitably make the prototype better: 

  • I have taken away the image place holder page; although I thought this idea was a good way of showing off the bands photos in a not so conventional gallery style show, they thought it looked untidy and the thumb nails weren’t even big enough to see what the user was clicking on, therefore this page has been removed.

  • I have improved some of the designs, I have taken away a few brush strokes and made the writing a different colour to the green effects, making both stand out from each other.

  

  • I have attempted to improve upon the play list section but have been unsuccessful with the coding; if I had left my self more time after the testing period I would have been able to improve this vital section of my prototype.

  • I have also attempting to make the random movement on the loading page jump to the home page, but as of yet I am also unsuccessful in working this code out.

If I would have left myself enough time to test my prototype on the Pocket PC I would have been able to:

  • Even though I researched the Pocket PC, testing would have enabled me to see whether the conventional size fits all models.

  • I would have been able to see whether there is enough storage to upload videos and play music.

  • Would have been able to test the accessibility of my links.

  • Test the functionality of the website itself.

  • Get user from forums on the Internet to test the prototype and give feedback from a anonymous source.

      

Further Ideas for Development

As you will see, this idea is merely at the prototype stage and is in need of some serious testing and improvement to make it look good, by making the videos work and most importantly making the play list work this prototype actually stand out as a platform the band could actually use.

This project has enabled me to once again work in Flash and see what kind of skills I need to become a new media professional. This project has enabled me to research and talk to media professionals about the skills I will need to progress and how I should go about this progression.

From making this prototype, I have once again attempted to improve my Flash skills, and have become more confident with the program and other design programs. I know now that I will be able to, with a bit more practice combine all of the skills I have learnt during this module and previous modules to create a professional, industry style online radio station for my final year project.

Testing On a Pocket PC: Accessibility

I have made my prototype accessible by:

§         Making sure I have used the accessibility control panel in Flash.

§         I have attempted to make buttons clear and easy to use.

§         I haven’t been able to make the buttons have a different key press as all users will most probably be using their interactive pen to click.

§         I know that flash cannot be read my screen readers and so have made sure that I have labeled every buttons and frame.

New Employable Skills

During my research and development process I identified a number of skills I believe would be most relevant to have to work in the new media sector of the industry, I wanted to use this module to try and improve upon these.Whilst talking to media professionals it became apparent that it was being able to use Flash was a skill that they looked highly upon.

Flash

This module has enabled once again to use Flash, but also I have learnt about how to move around Flash, how to export and import into flash. In previous module I had been designing every thing on the flash player, by using Photoshop in my television studio module; I have become more equipped on this program and thus have designed all the background and images in photoshop and have then exported them.  

Creativity

This is one area I lack, in previous projects and assignment I have been most disappointed with, I lack the ability to create and then use any design ideas I come up with. This time I was determined to make sure that I use not only flash but incorporated the other design programs I could use into making this prototype; making my prototype look more professional and exciting to look at.             

My brief plan of action

My Plan

Week 7 –

Started to moc up designs and speak to the band about using their music, their videos etc

Week 8 –

Receive feedback from our first assignment; look over feedback to see where I will be able to improve my project.

Week 9 –

Complete storyboard.Revisit flash to try and rebuild up the skills I have previously learnt

Week 10 –

Start piecing together sketches on Photoshop.Piece together in Flash

Week 11 –

Theory deadline week so expect to do no work on web project this week.

Week 12 –

Bring in 5 points that I am stuck on for help.Questions about testing

Week 13-

Write up testing and further ideas

Hand in work.  

My Project So Far….

Well, it’s now a week until our project will all be handed in, and I’ve hit that panic stage…After weeks of researching into making my mobile application for Sony Ericsson W810i I have had to come to a stand still with this idea, I have reached a point in my development where I have no kind of previous experience and have left myself short of time to research into making each button and link accessible through using different key presses. I also went to test my idea using the phone and realised my Dad had no service connection to the Internet through his mobile, therefore I have put my contingency plan into action.

Through out my research process I have always thought about making the application for a pocket pc, not only will this give me more space to work with, but will also enable me to use testers on the Internet, some of which I found through my research.

With only a week to go, I have changed my prototype to be based mainly on the pocket pc, this will enable to user to use the touch screen pad and click on the links using the interactive pen provided with the pocket pc. I know it seems a risk to take, but I would prefer to be able to test a few pages, then to have a completed prototype for the Sony Ericsson W810i which had no space for testing.

Proposal

Aim 

Design, produce and test an online mobile application for Monday Street to use as a way of promoting new songs, upcoming gigs and news.

 Project outline 

 Whilst walking around, take a note of the amount of people on mobile phones, what are they doing? Are they making a phone call? Are they sending a text or browsing the internet?

 

For my project I am attempting to manipulate the extensive use of the mobile phone by consumers and then furthermore using it as a way of marketing and promoting the band ‘Monday Street’. As a young and up coming band, most of their fans will be using mobile phones if not, they will know some one that has access to a mobile.

 

My idea is to make an interactive flash website that people can access through their internet browser on their mobile phone; it will be through this medium that people will be able to get up to date information when ever they wish.

 Target Audience 

This is quite a hard area to differentiate one sector of the market, as the band I’m promoting are young. I want to stage my main platform at their fan base, this would be young adults, but then also I have to take into consideration the professionals, like their manager and producers; they will have some kind of say in what products are used to promote their band, therefore, I have decided to make an application that could appeal to people aged 18 and upwards. This will mean that I have to keep the product quite simple, but more professional in the way it is delivered and broadcast. 

 Colours, themes and designs 

From looking at the bands My Space, their photos, and seeing them live, I have quite a good feel about what they are about and how they wish to be viewed by the public. I am still brainstorming design ideas and I really want to make this one project stand out from my previous one. I have added a few colour charts, fonts and mock ups that are basic which will be built upon. (Appendix One)

     Mobile Content Online

Unlike producing a project simply for the open Internet market where every one can upload information when and how they please, the mobile environment is completely different to this.

 

One of the main aspects that I will have to consider is networks speeds and screen sizes, its ‘Adobe Flash Lite’ that will help me develop the content purely for mobile development and delivery, it will be this that will either make or break my project.

 Market Research The Fray Website: 

I have taken a quick look at ‘The Fray’ website and really like the way in which each individual element at the top of the screen moves in slowly by itself, the volume control button is placed at the top right hand corner, discreet enough it doesn’t take your mind of the rest of the site.

 

The links between each page show another flash action as the buttons spin in the screen, however I don’t like that you have to scroll down the page to get the rest of the information, there is clearly too much information fitted into each section. The website is a bit bland and boring and could do with some kind of colour. (Appendix Two)

 

This website is just for the web only, there is nothing there that interacts with any kind of mobile device, ‘Monday Street’ will be one step ahead, I need to correctly design, construct and test my application to make it a success.

 

Testing is an area in which I will research more; I need to understand the whole process from start to finishing, by using websites such as http://www.adobe.com/devnet/devices/articles/packing_lite_03.html I will be able to get some kind of idea of what processes I have to go through.

 Mobile Phones 

I also have to decide what type of mobile I will be aiming by project to be tested and viewed on. As there are so many different types of mobile phones it would be impossible for me to produce a product that could be all on all of the different platforms, therefore I have researched into two different mobile models and then from this research I have decided what mobile device I will be building my application for.

  Sony Ericsson W810i  

Screen Resolution: 176×220

Flash Lite Version: 1.1

Supported Content Type: browser

Device Profile Update: 3

Sony Ericsson has 18 different models with Flash Lite pre-installed.

 Nokia 6126 

Screen Resolution: TBD

Flash Lite Version: 1.1

Supported Content Type: TBD

Device Profile Update: TBD

 

I am still undecided which module I wish to make my application for, if I choose to make my application for the Sony Ericsson W810i, not only has it already got Flash Lite 1.1 installed in the phone, but the memory space is bigger and the screen resolution will be easier to work with. I also have this phone so will be able to test the application when ever I wish.

However when looking over my research I noticed that one of the media professional suggested that it “If you have a Nokia this is easier to get into” but I am unsure whether the screen size of the Nokia 6126 is too small. This is another area where I will continue too research.

 

During the research process I have been able to see that flash is an ever advancing technology, by using Flash Lite I am not only enhancing my skills but I am making a project that is up to date with the technology.

Pitch

  

  • To produce some kind of flash lite mobile application that can be used by the band Monday Street to promote them selves as an upcoming band.I will be in direct contact with the band and their manager to make sure that I am producing a product that can be actually used by them. I want the application to be used as one of their major outlets for promotion distribution.

  • If you take a look on http://www.myspace.com/mondaystreetyou can get some kind of feeling about what the band are about, and the kind of look and style my product will follow. My main idea is to use some of their videos, sound or images as a way of promoting new and up coming songs etc, also like a “press release” statement when there is news about gigs and the band.

  

  • I have decided to flash lite for my product as I wish to both improve my action script, but also I want to learn more about what flash can do and want to totally understand the mobile application.

  

  • As you can see, the band are young and trendy, I like the way this photo has some kind of animation on top of it, not totally distracting the viewer away but gives the photo a sharp edge. I wish to use this idea in my project to make sure that it look professional and is used in a professional manner.

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=150646855&albumID=0&imageID=5881490 Colours:

  • As you can see in the picture below, this is the kind of style and colours in which I will have to incorporate and use whilst designing the product:

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=150646855&albumID=0&imageID=10211374

  • As the idea is based entirely on the band I have brainstormed a few ideas for the background, themes and general stuff:
  • Using their photos and images and fading them into the backgrounds
  • Having separate applications for the three different band mates.
  • Using a guitar, tambourine, drum stick, keyboard as key feature for design, animating them and making then stand out
  • Keeping their name at the forefront of the design.

Apologies

 Sorry about the state of my “interview” post it just keep changing size and colour when hit save… I’m getting stressed with this post so will come back and fix it tomorrow! Marie

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