Graduate Project User Testing

Narrative structure 1.

The first idea was to have a string of videos that would require the user to make a decision at the end of each video as to what direction they wanted the narrative to take. This gave the user control and therefore would make it more engaging. The videos were uploaded to Youtube and linked via their annotation function.


This was great in theory because it meant the story was being told across a social network like way way way back in the original idea, it gave the viewer control to watch what they wanted to watch and in theory made for a better piece… However, pushing aside the problem of narrative and linking things together which I have discussed a lot, was the fact the the overall quality and experience of YouTube just really is not very pleasant. With poor quality videos attempting to render half way through and with pop up adds blocking what the viewer was meant to be seeing all in all made for a terrible user experience and meant the user switched off straight away. Additionally this seemed really clumsy when people landed at my website with my twitter speak and webcam plugins. It just didn’t fit!

So taking the strengths from this, the users…

  • Likes being in control, the user showed some excitement when offered a question to answer to really draw them in
  • Does not like being interrupted or made to wait to view the next part
  • Like the element of surprise
  • Likes the element of finding out something expected
  • Needs to be a more “united” product, either all on one webpage/series of webpages, but going from YouTube to web page was very confusing.
  • Needed some element of control, some way to make sure a specific pathway was taken to ensure the viewer didn’t miss anything.





Structure 2. The Linear Click through.

The linear click through took the content I had already uploaded to Youtube and embedded them in a separate web site. unfortunately the pop up adds were still there but this time it was more obvious the user needed to close the add to continue, because the video was in a web page. Combining video with other content and introducing more explanation with the story did spell it out better to the user,  however they were still left feeling a little confused, many asking “but why do I need to know this?”, it seems it just did not meet expectations.

I feel as if I was trying to link the un-linkable, trying to tell a story, but the individual pieces separately did that for themselves and any narrative around it just cheapened the whole experience. I feel like this was reflected from my users who I tested it on. Now that there was more going on on the page as well, some users just looked blank and didn’t quite realise they were meant to click for the next part.

To overcome this I used a uniform button style that would move around the page but would always reassure the user that if they clicked that they would get to the next part. Again this felt clumsy and people were inclined to skip past bits they didn’t think were worth waiting for. The general structure was just overall poorly designed and very amateur, it lacked any obvious point or direction and was trying to be something it wasn’t. The strengths of this piece are the video images and they were being overshadowed tremendously. So this meant for a rethink…


Structure 3. Combining Linear with Multiple Narrative. And a bit of 3D for good measure!

This is the final structure of The #Life. Watch and listen to the commentary to gain a better understanding.

To summarise the functionality and the why….

1. 3D Gallery scroller, to mimic the online and offline blurring. A 3D environment in a 2D space represents this. Sort of explains the point of this project without really explaining it. Users can dive right in and control the movement.

2. The individual pieces stand alone and work within a network of other pieces. This in itself is a narrative, and represents the multiple networks which build up a social network (so thinking conceptually, this site can be analysed quite thoroughly). From previous user test the video themselves were the strongest element, and so by displaying them all in one space it allows the user to interact with them in whatever they wish which still gives them control.

3. The navigation bar confirms that the audience is in control that they showed they needed from the first and second structures. They can play and enjoy and pick what is of interest to them in the 3D gallery viewer, but then also structure their own involvement and amusement by clicking through the videos in order. Including an “about” page and “exposed” page was definitely important, I think I was hoping too much the viewer would just “know” what I was trying to show.

4. Not linking ideas specifically. Letting them happen organically. Social Media interaction is the umbrella term to group these little pieces and that is enough I think.

5. The functionality requires improvement…. the carousel continuing to turn if not paused whilst the video is still being played is a little annoying. However this is quite nice when everything is playing at once because it is reflective of the noise created by social media participants and sort of replicates this chaos and busy online world we live in and the confusion we end up in if we actually address that.

6. Future Modifications would be to include more content. More videos. More interactions. Just more. I had the ideas there fore them it was just the time constraints of faffing about with the narrative which meant I was not able to complete anymore content. I feel this is a lesson for the future to improve my planning. If I had produced more content, I feel the narrative elements themselves would have worked out and again happened organically from what I produced.







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