Monday, 18 May 2015

Time to Tweak

After the madness of last week, we were finally going to see how the app was going to work on site. It was the last day of excavating, so this was our last chance to be able to test the overall format and use of the app with others (such as students and supervisors) to get their responses. 

For practical reasons and to avoid confusion with the participants, the whole app was made into a video, so the cursor would move by itself to each stop, therefore the participants would only have to press 'pause' to stop the video after each stop. Both Sara and I used the guide when we first arrived, and it wasn't as bad as I expected! Our main improvements were the quality of the audio, which was slightly crackly making my voice sound slightly robotic and some of the content/order of content might have to be re-arranged and re-written.  
Me taking Dr Jonathan Finch through the format of the app
(photo by Dr Sara Perry)
Me taking a student through the app
(photo by Dr Sara Perry)
I guided and recorded the module leader for the Excavation Fieldschool, Dr Jonathan Finch, and two students who had been taking part in the excavation for the last three weeks through the app. There were no major faults that were detected, just little niggles that could've been portrayed better. For example, the 'Trench' stop is probably the most problematic in being able to navigate where you are supposed to look, especially if you didn't even know there were training trenches there! We found a way around it, replacing the existing visual imagery on the screen with a photograph of the fields that the participant is meant to be focusing on, annotated to illustrate the features. Other than some of the content being re-written or being put in another order, the differences between someone who knows a lot about the site's content and students who haven't been able to appreciate the wider landscape because they've been covered in mud all day was quite apparent. Jonathan mostly picked up on the content, whereas the students picked up on trying to be more specific in clarifying particular features. 

The day finished around 2pm, and as a celebration of finishing the excavation, we all went for a tour around Theakston's Brewery Visitor Centre in the nearest village of Masham and enjoyed a free drink - which certainly woke everybody up!

Next, time to completely finish the app! 

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