Testing Testing (again)


We have now selected 25 locations, which can be seen on a map. They start at St James Park and end at RAMM. Yesterday, once again, I set off to check the accuracy of the geocoding and whether the affordance of the first location made sense when encountered in situ. This is because each location is associated to an image, a text (100 words only) and an affordance (i.e. in the sense it prompts an action or a thought). Whilst the text seemed sufficiently informative, and the affordance evocative, the image looked too fuzzy and this made me realise that one of our challenges is that we need to satisfy both users who will utilise their phones and encounter the trail whilst mobile (with all the connectivity problems this implies) and users who will encounter the trail on their PC (most seniors we consulted indicated that they would prefer this option, and in my experience users prefer to be creative at home than whilst out and about). However, after an hour, sadly, I had to give up, as the trail aspect of the tool was not working.

Today, I set off again, and realised,  when I arrived at St James Park, that a match had just started. Needless to say, I felt profoundly self-conscious (and somehow rather stupid), walking around staring into my phone, making copious notes, and completely ignoring what all others were there for, namely the match itself. Again, like yesterday, the trail tool wasn’t working, though the marker on the map (the blue dot) was progressing, which meant that I could (fortunately for me) test the geocoding. Whilst I could not test the first 7 locations, as they were sealed off because of the match, I am pleased to say that all other locations, except for one, from the Big Bank to RAMM, were picked up by the app. Having said that, I have 4 pages of notes for Andy who, rather heroically, worked very late at night to fix yesterday’s problems for me to test today.

Below, you can see how the app works: you are the blue dot, moving between numbered locations. As you progress, you are told that you are getting closer to the next location. When you are there (hence the significance of the geocoding), you are given the choice whether to continue the trail or view the object (though I just realise now that ‘object’ is probably not the right word in this context). If you view the ‘object’, you get a 100 word text, an image and an affordance (a prompt). If we get the funding to further develop the app, you will then be able to add your own thoughts about a site, person, event or even create your own trail. I am particularly pleased with the affordance we chose for the Big Bank, as it involves looking through a small square cut out frame on a red door. Do you know which door I am thinking of? When I first looked, I could not see anybody – only the big heart…

photo-8photo-5 photo-7


About Gabriella Giannachi

Gabriella Giannachi is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia at the University of Exeter, which promotes advanced interdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines. Her most recent and forthcoming book publications include: Virtual Theatres: an Introduction (Routledge: 2004); Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, ed. with Nigel Stewart (Peter Lang: 2005); The Politics of New Media Theatre (Routledge: 2007); Performing Presence: Between the Live and the Simulated, co-authored with Nick Kaye (MUP: 2011), nominated in Theatre Library Association 44th Annual Book Awards (2012); Archaeologies of Presence, co-edited with Nick Kaye and Michael Shanks (Routledge: 2012); Performing Mixed Reality, co-authored with Steve Benford (MITP: 2011) and Archive Everything (MITP, forthcoming). She has published articles in Contemporary Theatre Review, Leonardo, Performance Research, Digital Creativity, TDR and PAJ, and developed conference papers for IVA 2009, 9th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, CHI 2008, CHI 2009 (best paper award), CHI 2012 (best paper award) and CHI 2013 (best paper award). She is an investigator in the RCUK funded Horizon Digital Economy Research Hub (2009-2014) and is collaborating with Tate and RAMM on a number of projects. She has a BA from Turin University and a PhD from Cambridge University, UK.
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