Wednesday, November 23, 2005

MyArtSpace

I'm currently involved with a project called My Art Space, which aims to provide visitors to museums with a way of collecting objects that are interesting to them using mobile phones. Objects are collected by entering a short code, and after your visit you can then view your personal collection and start arranging objects into a gallery that you show to other people. Each object can be annotated with your own notes, and comes complete with its own set of info from the museum archive. It's a really nice idea, and on Monday I got to see the system working for the first time.

The system makes use of an application running on a mobile phone to collect objects, together with a web-based application for viewing, sorting, and presenting your gallery. We had a lot of constructive discussion about how to change things, and one of the recurring issues for me was workflow. The team have built a flexible application that lets you do things in a number of ways, not necessarily in a specific sequence. The problem with that is that users who are not familiar with the system don't know where to start, and aren't sure what the dependencies are within the application. In some cases it really helps to have imperative text, saying "First: do this, Then: do that". This is the kind of handholding that expert users will ignore, but novice users find invaluable.

The system is going live for a school visit tomorrow, and it's a shame I won't be around to see what the kids make of it. I hope to report back when I've heard from the rest of the team. My hunch is that kids will really show the potential of the system, no doubt findings some uses for it that were never imagined...

Comments:
it went very well!
 
Thats great to hear!

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