Source: Project Three: Hunt Library
Understanding Hunt Library and its Digital Presence
I have visited Hunt Library many times since my arrival at CMU. It is, for the most part, a great place to get work done and concentrate. However, it has many frustrating features. The entrance into the library is one of the most frustrating aspects of the space. The doors are incredibly hard to open and, though they advertise themselves as push doors, they really function poorly both ways. If you have never been in the space before, it might be hard to understand exactly where everything is.
In my project I tried to explain how the library is currently laid out, why the digital interface or lack thereof doesn’t coexist with the actual physical space, and how to adjust both so that the spaces make more sense together and separately. I think I do a pretty good job of explaining how each space works, however I am still unsure of how to cleanly and professionally express my ideas. I’m also having a hard time seeing where I can go next with this project.
Source: Studio Redesign with Demo
A recap from last time…
The first step in creating my demo was to set up the motion sensor that has been placed under the “collaborative work table.” There were many steps when trying to set up the new device on the SmartThings app. There were a couple of things I realized I needed to consider.
What happens when someone sits at collaborative table…
When preparing the demo and my process, I realized that my initial narrative didn’t line up very well with how the demo works. Instead of just checking the SmartThings app to see if someone is using the collaborative area and the smart board, you instead receive a message every time the area is occupied. The obvious problem with this system is that it needs to learn to automatically shut off during class time because that’s the typical area that the teachers and teacher’s assistants sit.
There are two simultaneous processes going on. One is the process of Emily checking the app to see if the area is occupied or not. The other is when the act of occupying the area causes the environments students and teachers to become aware of this. Both are ways to get to the same end goal which is to schedule times, sync devices to the smart board, and effectively use the space.
It was really interesting to go through this process while playing with the motion sensors and figuring out the best placement of them. I ended up having to flip the table around because it sensed people just walking by.
I really struggled with how to best combine both digital narrative and the in class demo. Since the actions I wanted to display in my narrative didn’t quite match up with my demo’s features, it was hard to sync them so that they made sense together. My intension was to show two different trigger points in this interaction. One is actually using the SmartThings app to see if anyone is using the collaborative space and the other was being notified when someone is using the collaborative space. One thing I would really like to have happen if this were to become a reality for our space was for the app to recognize both who is in studio (and therefore doesn’t need to be notified when the space is being occupied) and who has an interest in knowing if the collaborative area is open. I also wanted to play with syncing the calendar schedule, on the SmartThings app, of who is using the space to when you are notified when the space is being occupied or ask you if you’d like to sync your device with the Smart Board now or when you actually arrive at studio.
Although I think I have relatively concrete ideas, one thing I wish I had done is be a little bit more creative with the interaction. I really admired Lily’s idea of making our divider wall transparent that can change when different situations arise. For next time I will try and spend more time on coming up with interesting and innovative ideas before I jump into one.
Source: Final Redesign with Demo
Source: Final Redesign with Demo
Source: Studio Redesign
Going into my final narrative, hifi presentation, I didn’t exactly know what I wanted my story to be. I knew I wanted a clear entry point into the app but the middle and final stages of the story were still unclear. Through photographing Emily and working our way through the story I was able to develop a more concrete idea for my narrative. I did run into problems, however. One of the biggest problems was my limited understanding of illustrator. I also struggled with the layout of my final presentation and how I was going to display some of the interactions going on between the user and the app while integrating it with the environment of the page.
Some of my concepts had to be cut from my final narrative due to my lack of ability to create images that are as hifi as I wanted them or needed them to be. For example, the interactive screen that was going to be present at the actual piece was far too complex of an interaction and was not the main purpose of the narrative.
I went into the final stages of the project with a plan to photograph the narrative, select a couple of frames, and play around with them to create highlight moments. In theory this wasn’t too complicated, however things became much more complex with you start dealing with which images you are going to use for your interface, the appropriate amount of a visible person holding their phone and not just a floating hand, and many other components. I also planned on incorporating text into my slides for the final deliverable, however I realized that what I was planning on writing was kind of unnecessary and slightly redundant.
Something I would have done differently would be to try and show a clearer transition between interacting with the main screen and getting to the directions option. I probably should have also incorporated more options in navigating through the app. For example, not just having a human perspective directions option because some people are coming from further away. There are many features I wish I had incorporated that I had planned on doing originally, however time and complexity of the problem did not permit in the end.
During the process of putting together this narrative there were many ups and downs. I struggled with how many different entry points I should have and got very caught up in the prequel section of using the app rather than the actual interaction between the person, the app, and the environment. There were a couple of distractions during the process, most of them personal issues I’ve been dealing with that allowed my brain to stray from the problem at hand. For the future I think I will try and deal with all of my personal issues before I enter studio so I can be totally involved in what I’m doing.
I think my motivation for doing the project was in the idea that I may have a great portfolio piece at the end of it if I really tried to bump up my computer and narrative skills. I think another motivation was the encouragement of my friends throughout the process. It’s really great to get both positive and constructive feedback from your peers and I wish I had asked more frequently for it because it definitely made a difference in my final product and how I got there.
As previously mentioned, a big challenge for me was laying out the narrative and narrowing down my story as well as how to best illustrate the interactions between the user and the interface. I also struggled with how to make the overlay of the new screen look believable and real.
One thing I think I did well was simplifying my story so that it’s very easy to explain and illustrate to the viewer. I’m also very proud of a couple of my photoshopped screens given my lack of experience with the program.
One thing I would have done differently would be to add a page where the entire app interaction is laid out so the viewer knows exactly how to get to a certain page and navigate back to where they were or started from. I think I got caught up too much in the narrative aspect that I forgot to go back and clarify the app’s path.
Source: Building on the Narrative