On Saturday Jan. 9th we held our final demo atTesoma as planned. The weather was cold even on Finnish standards and the amount of participants dwindled and the morning group got cancelled as people fell ill or otherwise were unable to attend. However the demo event was still organized and the few who arrived seemed to thoroughly enjoy testing our demo and provided plenty of interesting and useful feedback. Our new demo available from a website through the user’s smart phone included more imaginative instructions that left a lot more room for the user’s imagination while exploring the urban area. We were worried the weather might discourage the users from going through with the route provided. Thus we cut the amount of instructions for the demo as we didn’t feel we needed to have the participants walking in -20 degrees for too long. Despite the weather the general feedback was that people would have wanted to walk further.
The demo provided with the information we wanted from it: people liked finding new things in their familiar surroundings and enjoyed taking pictures of things they otherwise might not even consider. It was also found out that it is an useful tool for getting both young children and teenagers out to take in the sunlight and pay attention to their surroundings. The feedback provided the necessary tools to create our final pitch a success for next week.
On Wednesday I personally attended a Pitching Workshop at Demola held by performer Trent Pancy. His advice for getting rid of stage fright, getting your voice heard loud and clear and focusing on the start and the ending of your presentation really helped with the pitch itself. Further discussion with Jenni told me that I could’ve really learnt that all from her anyway. The evening was nevertheless fun when people from the next room had to come tell us to be more quiet.
Of course the evening and the next day totally stressed me out about the pitch no matter how much Mr. Pancy had prepared me before and by 15:00 we finally arrived at TUT scraping together the loose ends for our Prezi presentation and me frantically trying to remember all the words for it. Augmented Tesoma Reality was the last team to pitch their results so I had plenty of time to get anxious about it and wish it would be over with already. All the pitches at the event were good and ours was no exception in the end without any bigger problems and the feedback we were provided was quite constructive. At the graduation party later that evening our group was even awarded the Sh*tty Prototype award for our idea from the very first Demola Jam.
The Prezi presentation of the final pitch is available here!
The next day we had our final official project meeting with the project partners and Demola facilitator and went through what we had learned during the course of the project. Everybody was quite happy and satisfied with the results and we had succeeded in what the project aimed to provide for the partner! It has been fun!
Below you can find the html prototype we used for our final demo. It is unfortunately in Finnish since all the participants at Tesoma spoke Finnish. Go out, Lose Your Way and start exploring your neighborhood following the instructions provided. Try to notice how you pay attention to your surroundings compared to taking a normal walk there and back again. Let the demo be your guide but use your own train of thought and imagination on how to complete the tasks provided.
We’ve spent these last two weeks preparing for our final demo, which is going to take place in Tesoma in the first week of January. We’ve been busy designing and testing new (perhaps more imaginative) instructions and dealing with all sorts of practicalities. The cards were simple and nice, but this time we will have a web-based interface, which is an improvement in it’s own right!
Based on the results from the previous demo we concluded that our concept is more useful for residents than tourists, so we hope to gather a group of locals for the testing. The invitation is hot out of the press, and now it’s just a question of getting it out to reach the right people. So if you live in Tesoma, or somewhere near by, come help us out! We’ll guarantee you’ll get lost, and have fun while doing it.
(Also, you’ll get to make up your own instructions! Even more fun.)
We had our first actual demo last Friday on 4th of December. Even tough the sky was pouring, everything went really well and generally the feedback we got was encouraging. People were interested in our idea and they found it interesting (still there was new ideas and suggestions, which was of course great). I wouldn’t doubt that the demo would fulfill its idea better on a sunny day or with big snowflakes gently falling but anyway, a big applause for those who showed up and were interested! Not made of sugar.
We had made a stack of cards that represented the smartphone screen. We asked the participants to follow the instructions on the cards and when they had made their trip, we gathered the material that had emerged during the trip (two photographs, some words written down and the route the participants ended up walking) and asked for general feedback about the demo. We used a quantitative survey form that we complemented with an interview. In the interview we tried to grasp more of the qualitative side and experimental aspects of the demo.
We gathered participants from different sources (Facebook contacts, student mailing lists, friends etc.). They were mainly students and there were both locals and those coming from abroad. Generally, all of the participants found the idea of ‘losing yourself in a city’ or finding new perspectives to their (possibly) familiar environments, interesting. Many even said that the demo could have been longer. I guess it takes more than just one misstep to really lose yourself. So duration was one thing to consider in the next demo.
Other thing that came up was the imaginativity of the instructions and tasks of the cards. The participants made their own suggestions and we were left thinking that maybe we should pay even more attention to the instructions and how they are orienting the users attention. Maybe some way to get the users “scan” their environment in even more detail. Participants also showed interest in creating and developing their own instructions for other users (this feature wasn’t included in this demo, nor were there all of the tasks we have been thinking, for example, recording sounds).
There were lots of good feedback and new things to consider with our next demo as a result of this first demo. For the next demo, we are trying to create a more digital version of the user interface (replacing physical cards with an html-webpage) and maybe using electrical survey forms also. We were also thinking about setting the next demo in our original framework, Tesoma. That way we would also get feedback from a different kind of environment.
The first demo was a success and gave lots of valuable feedback. Lets see what comes up in the next one!
– ATR Team
To answer the question in the title, this Demola project has definitely made us feel disoriented at times. But on the 19th of November we found ourselves at the Demola Mid Pitch -event where we got to listen to an inspiring stream of new approaches and ideas!
As we might have learned, getting lost can be frustrating and even scary, but it is also a great way to find new stuff and surprise yourself. On the other hand, in today’s cities getting lost can literally be difficult because of all the GPS-services, tourist guides and information at hand. When it comes to our project, exploring new ideas has been a lot of fun. While traditional tourist guides show you the USUAL, we want people to find the UNUSUAL.
So, to describe our current concept, we drew some inspiration from psychogeography and the Situationists International which was an activist movement aiming to transform the foundations of contemporary societies between the 1950’s and the 1970’s (Plant 1992). Throughout this Demola project we have been seeking to combine our work with some core values and goals that we want our end-product to represent and that’s where the Situationist agenda kicks in. We want our product to make people explore and get to know their surroundings more. It would also be great if people were able to discover new stuff and share their experiences with one another. We think that by detaching people from their everyday repetitive routines they are able to experience their environment from a new perspective.
The Mid Pitch -event had made us a bit shaky and nervous because our project’s direction had been a bit fuzzy over the past few weeks. Also, we were the last ones to present so we had plenty of time to build up some anxiety and tension. Fortunately, our team of undisputed professionals had created a presentation so visually appealing, to-the-point and easy to follow that we didn’t have much trouble getting our message across.
The Prezi presentation of the app can be seen here!
The pitching event was full of good energy and we are glad that everybody remained interested until our concluding presentation. After our set we received a good reaction from the audience and the positive feedback was definitely beneficial! We also got some useful suggestions and support from our brilliant Demola facilitators, Thanks!
So let’s keep up the good work!
Plant, S. 1992. The most radical gesture. The Situationist International in a post modern age. New York: Routledge.
Here are couple of really tentative demos of the ideas/concepts we have been discussing during this project. With these demos we are trying to make the ideas more tangible, concretize them somehow. The demos are really rough but this is a great way to take some distance to the ideas and to reflect on them.
At the beginning of the project, we started from the idea of some kind of augmented soundscape layer on top of Tesoma that would change according to the listeners movements around the area. We considered different approaches and features which led us to somewhat another direction, to a more active and social approach, with the idea of sound caching around Tesoma.
DEMO #1 / AUGMENTED SOUNDSCAPE
This demo is meant to express the idea of the changing soundscape created by the application by showing a figure moving through Tesoma map. The soundscape changes, with respect to the figures movement, from a mix of ambient sounds and traffic noise of Tesomakatu to a more watery sounds of the Tesomajärvi.
DEMO #2 / SOUND CACHES
Second demo expresses our ideas about sound caches that people could leave to specific locations in the Tesoma area. Below is eight sound caches that we created and recorded in Tesoma using smartphone recording application and cache locations are shown in the map. We visioned different features to the application but the basic idea was that the user of the application would need to go to the actual location in order to be able to listen to the sounds and leave sounds of their own. Then other users of the app could intentionally try to find sound caches or maybe stumble upon one while moving in Tesoma.
There has been many kinds of ideas, but these two have been kind of directional ideas during the project and many ideas have been circling around these basic approaches. We also have a new concept developing which is a kind of combination of our previous ideas, maybe that’ll be our third (and last) major direction. Third time’s a charm they say.
Till next time,
I was representing our team in the Resonanssi conference last weekend in Mediapolis. The theme this year was sound design for games and other emerging media.
The keynote lecture was delivered by Paul Weir, who is an audio director and sound designer with 20+ years of experience in games, radio, and film under his belt. He’s currently working on the game No Man’s Sky which is about exploring and surviving in a completely procedurally generated galaxy. Obviously that requires something else than linear thinking in the sound department too – which is rather interesting, as sound in itself is an inherently linear signal.
Weir gave examples of his works, and also delved into theoretical issues regarding procedural audio. On a more practical level he introduced us to the use of generative music in the context of designing soundscapes for commercial spaces: banks, department stores, airports, etc.
Besides Weir there were of course a host of other speakers and panelists. The common theme of creating a soundscape that reacts to the user – and the difficulties it entails – came through in most of the presentations. The discussions ranged from tools and technologies to questions of immersion and storytelling.
What I got out of the conference concerning our project was that a lot can be done with existing technologies to generate interactive soundscapes. We might or might not use this knowledge in our project, but it’s good to know what’s possible, and how one might go on to imagine and create a structure like that. I also talked a bit to some present and former sound design students of TAMK, which might turn out to be useful connections.
Greetings and good day. This is Antti, the user experience designer of the group and since I’m blogging here for the first time, I’d like to tell something about me and my views of the project. I’m studying my third year for a bachelor degree in Interactive Technology at UTA and I’m one of the younger members of the group. Accessibility and easy of use are very close to my heart, and whatever our product ends up being, I wish that its success won’t fall to problems in that it would be too complicated for people to use. I also hope to bring to the group some of my experience with games and the few technical skills I’ve acquired studying alongside computer scientists.
Last Saturday we spent jamming alongside other Demola groups at the New Factory premises. Some lack of motivation could be felt in the air for working during the weekend, but food and supportive facilitators pulled us through. The program included a presentation from Gofore about focusing on users, not clients, with our product. Then we split into different groups based on our field of study. For most in our group there was not a specific group, so they just had to go to with the subject they were most interested in…
After lunch we had a quick checkup about the schedule of the projects and what resources we might still need that aren’t currently available to us. The day ended with some speedy pitching and I felt we had to make most of the stuff up since our direction is still a bit off. We finished as a group thinking more about the NABC (need, approach, benefits, competition) since we felt that was something we needed a more clear view on.
In my personal opinion the Jam didn’t feel as packed as the first one and I would’ve hoped for a bit more engaging activity, since we all had gathered there afterall. Next in the plans is to get some more information about education and the ActionTrack tool.