Around 2006-2008 I was a young, enthusiastic, gloriously naive graduate spending my time travelling, studying, and making creative projects in technology and media. This blog mostly documents some of that heady period. Then I ran out of money, got jobs, signed non-disclosure agreements, and this blog dried up. One day I may post again…
I have a masters degree (MSc) in making computers user friendly. This is a slightly embarrassing video I made demonstrating my masters degree project.
The project was a video game called Multi Dance that teaches children multiplication tables. It was designed to be foot controlled using a dance mat. The idea was to use technology and exercise to make learning fun. Maybe I was on to something because now Nintendo are doing similar things with Brain Training and the Wii Fit.
I made the video on my home PC with no budget, borrowing a camera from the university and using free editing software from the internet. Thankfully, since making this video I’ve learned professional film-making techniques like using a tripod, fading in music and not wearing national health service glasses.
Created as part MSc masters degree project in human-centred computer systems at Sussex University, tutored by Dr Judith Good.
What’s the latest tool to hit web development? Bluetac. It might sound surprising but bluetac, scissors, post-it notes and a giant white board are the latest thing. Cut-and-paste. Literally.
Web development is expensive. Bluetac and paper are cheap. It’s painful when you have to redesign a site because the customer has forgotten something. Worse if it was your fault. So why not make it easier for the both of you and do your re-designs on a giant white board. It’s sure easier to sketch out a new page than write CSS.
I was working on a project that integrated a digital asset management system, a content management system and static web pages. The complexity could be a real headache, a visual representation on a whiteboard is priceless.
At least, until someone invents the affordable, wall sized, touch sensitive screen.
Working on a health education DVD project, armed with DVD Studio Pro, I set out to create possibly the worlds most user friendly DVD menu.
DVD menus are often built to be flashy and innovative. Unfortunately this is usually at the expense of usability. DVD menus are inherently unresponsive because each menu must be loaded as a video from the disc individually. Manufacturers disagree on which buttons to put on their remote controls and what to call them, and then there’s the possibility the DVD is being watched on a computer or games console. This all adds up to a usability nightmare.
The series was commissioned by Bend It Like Beckham producer Deepak Nayar and the former head of Fox Entertainment Sandy Grushow after the director won a filmaka.com. short film competition.
The series was shot low budget with a minimal crew so I did a variety of jobs in production, post-production and new media. Besides making the trailer I worked as a production assistant on set, made the behind the scenes documentary, worked on the bloopers & out-takes video and I make a couple of heavily disguised cameo appearances.
I also worked on a wryly internet marketing campaign including making the web page, writing e-mail newsletters and ‘pimping up’ a MySpace page.
The trick for making the trailer was to write TV guide descriptions of each episode and from those establish the common story for the series and base it on that: “Mo, a toilet salesman, is slowly driven mad by Christie, his incompetent boss.”
The tune in the trailer is Lover Killer by The Foxes.
A few days into shooting the series we got a phone call from the producers at filmaka.com saying they wanted a behind the scenes video. I was working as a production assistant at the time and a Sony Z1 camera was thrust into my hands. I shot whenever I could between other duties on set. If the series goes viral I may release more clips.
I snatched the interview at the end of a very busy film shoot. They actually had a deadline that day and Alec Christie can be seen uploading an episode in the background.
Note: This post refers to the 2008 website, it has been changed since.
I designed the www.kayakproductions.com website using Dreamweaver, Photoshop, HTML and CSS. In the process I make it more user friendly and google friendly. As a result it shot up the goolge rankings and received a boost in visitors.