Yesterday (Monday), we met as a group to finalize our first project iteration. After congratulating ourselves for our first meeting outside of class with everyone physically in attendance (woot), we first reviewed feedback from Aditi, Sasha, and Becky and identified the key risks they saw in our proposal. It seemed that there was general concern about having enough time and budget to accomplish what we set out to do in our project proposal, and a suggestion was to narrow our focus to fewer components of the project – either the web interface or the physical installation and emphasizing the design and documentation so that the idea could be implemented by others. It was also suggested that we research other similar installation projects for inspiration.
From our meetings with Urbano, we knew that they wanted us to design and build them something, whether it be web-based or physical or both. Optimistic about our capabilities, we tried to stay true to our original intent (at least for now), while identifying ways and paths that could reduce our focus on some tasks and redirect them to others.
Although we are considering many different forms of interaction with users, such as video, audio, and visual, for our first design iteration,we decided to gather user feedback and interaction through drawings of users’ Imagined Cities that would be photographed for documentation so that we would be able to focus on the core technological platform that would be used throughout our project. For the mobile component and housing for our installation, we decided to use a suitcase, which would provide an existing platform on which to build. As seen in our sketch below, the suitcase would house a touchscreen that users would interact with. Besides taking pictures of the Imagined City drawings, the touchscreen would primarily show video displaying the work of Urbano student artists (to incorporate their work into the installation), instructions about how to use the installation, and background about Urbano, their mission, and the Emancipated City theme. The information could also incorporate information about the history of the community where the installation is located, which could be customized and also give users something to reflect on before they draw their Imagined Cities. Here are some UI examples for the touchscreen interface that Birkan made. The suitcase would be accompanied by a collapsible bulletin board on which participants could hang their drawings. In future installations, we intend to incorporate audio and video capabilities. Preliminary product research of the more significant components of our project (touchscreen, suitcase) have shown that we should be able to complete the project within the specified budget for the course.
In terms of maintenance, the installation is designed to live within an indoor public space (libraries, community centers, museums, schools, youth organization centers), which would provide a small degree of security, but also be mobile in the sense that it could be packed up and transported to other sites easily. From time to time, the drawings would have to be gathered and taken back to Urbano and paper supplied to the installation, and every so often, the location of the installation would have to be changed.
With a design in place, we can move forward with purchasing the necessary components, playing with the software, and building the necessary mechanical inserts for the installation.