Posted on | May 18, 2009 | No Comments | by Scott
We had our final presentation last Wednesday during our final session for our New Media Team Project class. All in all I think it went pretty well. We were one of the last groups that got a chance to present and because of that I felt like we were a bit rushed. It would have been cool to showcase some more of the videos that the group created as well as demostrate more of the site. But all in all I believe that the class got a fairly good picture of the concept and final product.
I’d also like this opportunity to post what each of us in the group took away from the project and what we learned:
randy church – even after weeks of design and concept, the visual direction of a project is far from done. during development it becomes obvious what works, and both the development and developers need to be flexible enough to implement and expand the project as needed. designers and animators are also along for the ride as new visual solutions are always needed. delegation is a great way to get pieces of the project finished, but nothing compares to sitting down as a group and working through problems. group meetings, at least once a week, help keep the project consistent and on schedule.
isabel yerkes – sticking to a schedule is important. we needed to stay on track over a fair amount of time, which wasn’t easy. we set our own deadlines and had to enforce them.
scott lanning – lots of testing by both the creators and user is always key. you find many bug and little quirks with your program when you or your users test the program.
matt austin – working with a team has its obstacles, but when a group of people get together and create something from absolute nothing, it’s pure amazement. our project had its ups and downs, but as a team we managed to fight through conflicting schedules, numerous sandbox issues, and a bit of senioritis and create the site we had hoped for. these past 20 weeks have been a testament to the hard work and dedication to those who put forth the effort to make this project great, and serves as a perfect primer for the real world.
joanna belding – the dynamics of a team really rely on leadership and organization. we worked well as a team because we got along and took each other seriously. however, i think i speak for all when i say if we’re ever faced with an large team situation again, we would make sure to delegate responsibilities more clearly. each person would have smaller assets and portions of the project to work on, instead of everyone trying to individually make an entire version of the project themselves, and then have to choose between each. that way, design, interaction, and then finally development all get done within set timeframes.
brooks eastman - i think the biggest problem we had was getting the design concept down. we had all four designers make seperate designs for several iterations and this made the process take far too long. in the future, i think a better practice would be to have all the designers work more closely with their comps, have the differences between them be smaller, as well as work with the development side to more understand how their designs will be integrated with the interface. basically, instead of doing design > development, the process should be more unified. the closer everyone works together the more people are on the same page, and the faster everything gets done.
niraj shah – having all the developers on the same page is key. working on our code together with the rest of the team helped us during the development stages since we were able to help each other out when coming up with ideas and fixing bugs. also, having the developers be able to communicate in person while combining our code made the process significantly easier.
kristen curtze – i think we all learned how having a bit of excitement towards the project and each other can really influence the amount of work you are willing to put forth. i believe our team was fun and we always mixed business with pleasure, but we were sure to get stuff done. throughout the 20 weeks, i heard about a lot of drama within other teams. anytime i heard a bad account of this, i felt relieved that I actually enjoyed working with my teammates and often anticipated seeing what crazy things i’d take away from each meeting (mainly squeaky kittens and questionable song lyrics). did we goof off a lot? yes. but we still have a project of which we can all be proud. we worked hard and we played hard. i think it was a great mix and none of us are ready to kill one another!
as for respect, i think we all had each other’s backs throughout the 20 weeks. should one half of the group miss out on a meeting, the other half would likely show up the next time to balance out the time spent. i usually felt guilty should i not be able to make a meeting, but we respected each other enough to understand that sometimes you can’t make every meeting and to know that i or anyone else missing would likely make the next one. also, most of us ensured that everyone had something to work on or that the work was distributed. of course there are times that some members took on larger obstacles than others, but in the end everyone contributed a significant piece of the project. we respected each other as teammates and didn’t want to see anyone drowning in work. the concept saved anyone from having a mental breakdown and we all feel like we are a crucial part of the project. win/win.
What was unique about this project was that we each took different roles in the project so each persons experience was a bit different, but all came together in a really exceptional learning experience. I think that everyone in the group learned so much and definitely considers this a very useful experience for what is ahead in the “real world”.
As a group we’re going to be submitting our project to the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, The FWA, and HOWmag Interactive Design Awards for their consideration.
Posted on | May 11, 2009 | No Comments | by Brooks
Team IV had a blast presenting Newsiversse at this year’s ImagineRIT! Our “spacey” room was filled with inquisitive people who were intensely interested in the project. Check out the video here: Newsiversse @ ImagineRIT 2009.
Posted on | May 11, 2009 | No Comments | by Kristen
Sorry for the delay, but Team IV has been busy tweaking and coding away at our lovely senior project yu know and love. Plus, having ImagineRIT in our minds kept us driven to keep working and put off a bit of sleep for a while. No harm there!
Anyways, we have changed a lot since our last post. We have found a great transition from the nodes’ closed state to their full story window state – flipping them on their sides! The transition helps change the node from circle to line/square (on it’s side) so we can pull out a little window for your feed-viewing pleasure. Also, Matt helped to add some awesome particle animations to give some added visuals to the project.
We changed the transition because companies from Industry Day advised us to take away some clicking points. In other words, we wanted the story to load immediately after one click, not after seeing the tweets load and THEN clicking to get the story. So now, the full story window loads and the tweets appear on the right side of the window. Done and done.
We got this design functioning just in time for ImagineRIT, which was May 2nd here at RIT. We had visitors ranging from ages 8 to mid-70′s and all seemed to be impressed with our concept and accomplishments. I found that middle-aged visitors really appreciated out site as they could get all their various news sources in one location without too much text to read/filter through. But, we still got a lot of feedback based on how the visitors experienced and used our site for the first time:
- Node sizes. A handful of visitors asked us if the node sizes they saw on the idle screen indicated levels of importance in terms of the news. We were confused at first, but then we understood that the presence of depth in our site is not so obvious. Since we have been staring at this project for two semesters, we understand that you are to click and hold down the mouse key to surf through the nodes. Yet, this evidently was not obvious enough. The users understood that the sizes were due to your current position on the z-axis, but only after we told them how to move through the nodes.
To fix this problem, we implemented a more 3D-like cursor to help show that you are to move forward and click on things. Also, we added a “breathing” design to the nodes in hopes of drawing people to the distant nodes. The subtle movement/change can catch a users eye and indicate that they should click on the node as well as dig deeper into our site. We are still fine-tuning the concept to ensure that there is little confusion from the start as to how to use our site.
- Smoother transitions. Since ImagineRIT seemed to sneak up on us despite our constant reminders that it would, we showed our project with a few snags and incomplete designs. Our transition from node to full story was a bit rough, but it at least functioned properly and showed the story. Our YouTube nodes were working great and we showed an AWFUL amount of Susan Boyle videos. Fortunately, we discovered that YouTube has a standard “Most Popular” feed should you not specify the date. Once we realized this, we changed the feed link in Flash and immediately saw videos from Obama and from shows OTHER than ‘Britains Got Talent.’ (No offense, but really).
- Last minute additions. Since ImagineRIT, we buckled down and got the final touches in for the most part. We removed unecessary features like the “sound on/off” button and replaced it with our new ‘filter’ button. I mentioned our new 3D cursor above, but I think it really adds to the project. We tweaked the full story mode so that there isn’t a HUGE window for small feed description as well as smoothing the transition all together. Tweets now come in perfectly and have a subtle transition when hovering over them….aaaand we finally added Matt’s partical loader, which explodes into our current, starry background. Everything has been falling together quite well and we are in a very awesome position!
As of now, we are wrapping up our final presentation to show off our hard work. Our project is 97% complete and we are excited to see what our peers and professors think once they get a full showing of it. Here’s to the final week and our upcoming graduations!
Posted on | April 11, 2009 | 1 Comment | by Kristen
Web feed – “The kinds of content delivered by a web feed are typically HTML (webpage content) or links to webpages and other kinds of digital media. Often when websites provide web feeds to notify users of content updates, they only include summaries in the web feed rather than the full content itself.”
Newsiversse has shifted gears to get back to basics. Sandbox violations have gotten the better of us, so we’re trimming down the code and keeping things simple (oh, and legal). Sure, we got a taste of a full article load and it was GLORIOUS, but we understand that we are to create a web feed, not an information-stealing monster (that looks ridiculously good!).
Since week 4, we have changed up our code to steer clear of sandbox violations (dreadful). We tried many methods of opening urls (php – simplexml, openfile, readfile, load, etc.) and continued code within Flash, yet nothing seemed to work. Instead of senselessly wasting our time to read full articles (wrongfully), team IV will be presenting a ‘true-to-the-name’ feed. We will use the descriptions within the feed URLs as well as the titles and potentially some images.
Given the shorter length of the feed descriptions, we plan to emphasize the Tweets alongside our nodes and maintain our goal of having an extremely well designed site. We’ll see how this new route treats us, but I think we fully understand what we are to do (and what we CAN do) so we’re good to go! We’ll keep running the updates…
Posted on | April 2, 2009 | No Comments | by Isabel
To Get it workin’:
- Key word search
- Implement Design
- ‘filter’ feeds
- Tweet break-apart-visual-thingy (?) (Randy)
- 3D test for nodes (Randy)
- Intro Loader (Matt)
- Ring transition (All)
- Tweet rollovers – how they populate in (Joanna)
- Article excerpt transition in (Brooks)
- Button rollover animations (Randy)
- Customization of feeds/addition of feeds
Posted on | February 23, 2009 | No Comments | by Brooks
Posted on | February 20, 2009 | No Comments | by Scott
After dealing a lot with trying to get flash to parse the RSS feeds it has become apparent that PHP can do a lot of the work with a lot less strain on the server and a lot quicker and easier. I have been working on a simple parser that takes the twitter feeds and takes out the content and strips the HTML tags from the content. This leaves only the pure text of the comment without any of the code.
Posted on | February 19, 2009 | No Comments | by Joanna
Posted on | February 18, 2009 | No Comments | by Randy
1) Let’s Start at the Beginning…
Our initial concept was some form of growth, either organic in nature, or more scientific. I went with the latter and tried to visualize nerves and synapses connecting feeds together.
2) Abstracting a bit
After seeing some killer growth stuff by Grant Skinner we explored some different methods of showing growing vines and trees. I tried to abstract that as a secondary graphic element while the articles and tweets would sprout and float around these vines.
3) Nodes, nodes, nodes
As a group we decided that nodes would better visualize our concept. While growth and organic progression sounds good in theory, it is just too abstract and open to best showcase the specific articles and bits of information we were trying to display. I tried to get back to a more tangible and relatable style by displaying articles as bouncy-ball-like planets on a wooden floor. Not quite chic, but kinda fun.
4) Shiny Things are good
When all else fails make it SHINY! Clean and glossy normally isn’t my strongest style, but I really wanted to capture the look of the interior of a space craft, complete with shiny knobs and glossy buttons and a clear view of space beyond. The extra time and research really helped on this one, and I was pretty happy with the result.
5) Greater than the sum of its parts
Throughout this design process the coolest part was not only pushing myself while designing, but also seeing how Matt, Brooks, and Joanna’s could solve the same problem in totally different ways. Every week I’d check out their comps and really examine what ways their concepts were successful, and how I could incorporate these assets into my own design.
After 5 weeks of designing – about 40-50 comps between the 4 designers – how our solutions could all meld together into one coherent, successful design? Stay tuned!
Posted on | February 18, 2009 | No Comments | by Matt Austin
Here’s a look back at how my designs have progressed. Enjoy.
Version 4keep looking »