Week 4 (6/15 - 6/21)
This week has been a return to a lot of conceptualizing. I needed to figure out how exactly to encourage users to put the remix visualization to good use. The main way to do this is to make remixes more prominent throughout the site. There should be a "Featured Remixes" section on the home page to display some of the most compelling animations of the week. Worlds can be broken down into a set of animations other users have remixed from it, which can display how flexible certain animations are. Users can show off their compelling animations by having a "most remixed animation on their user profile. There will be another blog post later about my thoughts on how to progress with my project.
Friday, I finished building my exercise world. It incorporated some local variables that allow a user to input the number of pushups that they want the guy to do. I threw in an if statement to change the story or correct the grammar depending on the number of pushups. Then I began to build a new world using Pixar's Finding Nemo as a theme. That afternoon, everyone gave a quick five minute presentation on their proposal. Some things that I need to think about over the weekend are the question I am solving and how to actually test it.
Monday marked the return of everyone from Germany. I made a slight fix to my Nemo world and Kyle began to merge some of the branches from our two week project. I started building a paper prototype based on the sketches I had made for my proposal last week. Going back to the things I was supposed to think about, I'm going to try and answer those with the following:
Problem: Users may have an animation that they think is cool and want to learn more about it. They could also have an animation and want to know what else they can make it into.
Test: The first one is primarily just a feature that would allow users to better explore how a particular animation has progressed through several worlds. The second could be tested by asking users to build a unique animation from a remix. However, one test group would have access to the remix visualization, while the other group would not. We would be examining how easily, users can draw inspiration from a particular animation.
Tuesday, we had a long meeting discussing everyone's proposals with Caitlin and Kyle. I thought it was a great opportunity for everyone to bounce ideas off of each other. For me, the result was going back to the drawing board because while my visualization would make sense for more advanced programmers who are actually interested in the evolutionary history of a program. Most of the users of Looking Glass will not have this experience and will not be interested in seeing the minute changes that each different world builds upon. I'm going to spend some time thinking about how to make the remix visualization seem more useful to users.
Wednesday and Thursday, I spent doing essentially the same thing. I walked myself back through the purpose of remixing, the uses of the remix visualization, and simply how to get users to use the remix visualization. I read some articles on the fun theory as well as some publications by the developers of Scratch on the results of remixing and collaboration in Scratch (Scratch recently implemented a remix visualization, but I don't find it particularly useful. It's main use is to provide a trail of users that have remixed a project in Scratch and it has a pretty visualization that focuses on the main project and forms a web of remix connections around it). I have my notes and ideas in SparkleShare under my folder in a file called "Thoughts on Remix Visualization." I also have the beginning of a more put-together argument that I'm going to post as a separate blog entry.