iSchool: Full Disclosure: part 3 & 4 of 4

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Here's the last part of Cody's guest blog...

.....In the end, we created a set of six applications, diverse enough to entertain any and all types of GO Train riders:

 

Our applications

Art Augmented (illustrated below)

Our first application, “Art Augmented” was a collaborative art program that gave users a canvas and the freedom to express their creativity.

The difference between our application and more simplistic art-based programs (at least in its proposed usage on the Art Train) is that it encouraged direct and visible collaboration. Our goal in conceptualizing this particular application was to convey the message that our surroundings are a product of the societies, institutions and peoples that existed before us, and their decision-making. To succeed in this objective, we knew we had to create something multi-layered and unique.

It was imagined that the first person who opened up the application should find a blank canvas and would be instructed to draw anything that they could imagine or desired; their finished product would then be saved as a part of a timeline. The next user who picked up the same tablet would open the application to find exactly what the person before them left behind; from here they would have the option to alter it, add to it, or even destroy it entirely to build something new. Each successive user would interact with all the previous users works, or at least, whatever had been left behind.

In the end, a history of collaboration, construction and destruction would be created—and all of this would be available to see on a timeline, available on the application and online via an external website. For example, if thirty users had the opportunity to utilize one of the tablets, that device would produce a timeline of thirty pictures to view in succession. Through this, the interpretive lesson was that much of what we as individuals interact with in the world on a daily basis (such as the environment) is a collaborative effort of many people, with unique and diverse attitudes, objectives, ideals and beliefs.


Streets, Landmarks and Traffic (illustrated below):

Our second application conceptualized the creation of a unique augmented-reality application. The camera on the back of the tablet is utilized to capture a live view of whatever the user is looking at, and provides a visual overlay of information to the viewer. For example, we envisioned that users would be able to see the names of the streets they passed, traffic density, points of interest, and specific landmarks in view. The goal of this application was to allow users to interact with the world outside the train; we wanted users to take into account information and key landmarks that they would never encounter in-between the stops they entered and got off at.


Environmental/Sustainability/Art Word-Clouds (illustrated below):

Our third application asked users to input words in response to certain prompted questions related to the environment, the GO Train, and art in general. The aggregate input of all user responses would then be utilized to form a set of word-clouds for each question that illustrated and visualized the attitudes and feelings of users.


GO With no 9 (illustrated below):

“GO With no. 9” was a conceptual trivia application we created with the goal of educating riders on the various communities that exist along the GO Train line. Users would “ride” a particular line, or pick specific stops and have questions displayed for them to answer. We also hoped that such an application might encourage interaction amongst passengers to solve answers correctly. Overall, we wanted riders to explore the unexplored, and learn more about landmarks, history and the diversity of different stops/areas of the GO line.


Trains in the Movies (illustrated below):    

Like “GO With no 9,” this application was trivia oriented, asking users to answer questions related to the theme of “Trains in the Movies”. Simply put, our goal was to pump-up the cool factor of trains. We hoped to do this by highlighting the fact that so many famous Hollywood movies have incorporated trains as a major aspect of their premise, or have utilized them as major props in filming.    


Train Flash Game (illustrated below):    

In an attempt to cater to the younger train riders (as well as anyone who enjoys simple games), in our final app we sought out to create, or at least license the use of, a flash mini-game centered around trains (the one pictured above is a web flash game entitled “Mini Train” by Peter Kaspar).    

  
In closing  

Of all my accomplishments and projects thus far at the iSchool, I have to say that I am most proud of the conceptual applications that Themis and I thought up, constructed and visualized for KMD1001. Considering neither of us had any practical experience in design, I believe we accomplished a great deal in our project. Although our ideas were only conceptual in nature, and were never made into tangible, working applications, I like to believe that they could have been translated into successful, real programs for all to enjoy. What made us a good team and contributed to our overall success was that our ideas truly fed off of one another. We were always open to new contributions, additions and changes. Perhaps it was being new to the design process that allowed us to accept everything and deny nothing when it came to new ideas.

As I write this now, up late and not being able to sleep – although for very different reasons now! blog posts don’t write themselves – I’m reminded of the times when I was so overwhelmed and clouded with creativity that I simply could not coax my mind into relaxing. It’s a phenomenon that usually frustrates me when it happens, but upon reflection, I realize is immeasurably important. I need to let my imagination and creativity flow in any way, shape or form it chooses to. As George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”

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