What we have done
This week, we developed both “the research part” and the “final product part” of our project work.
Research part: We looked into the following books in order to get the project-relevant insights: Walter Ong’s Orality and Literacy - a book with a great link to our process of dealing with a future without reading and it displays also the way how we came up with this topic. We went back to the “origin” of News to discover that this would be our plan for the future, also the book tells stories from that time and focusses on the orality of language/stories and the early awareness of that.
The other book was Marshall McLuhan’s The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century. In which he argues that we have neglected, what he calls, our acoustic space since our worldview is based on text and its linear qualities something he claims belongs to what he calls the visual space. This relates to our thesis about the diminishing value of reading but we have to take a closer look to see if this book can give us more insights.
We also investigated the theme of symbols and semiotics, which constitutes an important part of our project (symbols can often successfully replace textual information). Hopefully, the information we receive from the research will help us determine how much information a symbol can carry and to what extent it is possible to replace text with symbols.
We met with prof. Haibo Li, who provided us with some interesting insights on device-mediated communication. Although personally he doesn’t really envision the future where nobody reads, he stated that in many cases textual information can be successfully replaced and enhanced by visual and auditory information. As an example, he used the notion of expressing emotions that due to their complexity can be represented in other ways better than just textually. He also proposed an interesting, small formula used for communication channels evaluation: Usability divided by Information Load. In the end, he added that in our proposed future scenario we may have to come up with another criteria for selecting video clips and he was very interested in our project work.
We have also been in contact with people who have experience with small kids and their interaction with iPads and phones. To gain insight into how the children manage to navigate through menus and applications without reading.
Final product part: Our final product, the future news webpage/mobile application, is based on the interface design concepts such as Windows 8 operating system, Xbox 360/Xbox One dashboards or elements of websites such as SVT Play and SVT barnkanalen. Their common and the most important feature is frequent use of symbols and images that can replace the text, which is our goal. Websites designed specifically for children proved to be very helpful too, as their design principles often rely on visual aspects and limited amount of text. We have also been in contact with people who have experience with small kids and their interaction with iPads and phones. To gain insight into how the children manage to navigate through menus and applications without reading.
We also designed a first concept version of the website’s/mobile app’s home screen (see “Resources part”). Apart from its already mentioned characteristics, there’s one feature that we believe is worth mentioning: at the top of the website/mobile app, we decided to include the “100 seconds news” video that will be updated and created automatically by an intelligent future algorithm. In this way, people who won’t have the time to see the full length videos will be able to quickly get up to date, similarly to what we do by skimming through news articles nowadays.
What we will do
Next steps include further work on designing the remaining parts of the website/mobile app. Some of those steps are already sketched on paper, but we still have to recreate them in graphics editing software. This includes refining the home screen, creating the remaining screens, designing the logo and continued work on designing icons. We will also concentrate even more on structuring and writing the book report.
We haven’t experienced any problems so far, but there’s one we have already envisioned: as we don’t have any web designers and programmers in our team, our final product will be a detailed mockup. Therefore, a proper and captivating representation of our prototype maybe a little troublesome, but we’re already thinking on a viable solution to this problem.
Changes in the project
The main assumptions of our project have remained the same.
Website/Mobile App Home Screen UI Concept (please note the work is still in progress!):
Walter Ong. Orality and LiteracyMarshall McLuhan. The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century
Have a nice weekend!