Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tangible Stories

Working on Tangible Stories was a very interesting experience.  Computers kept crashing and Tanner was also in the middle of it.  It was also a valuable experience, I tested my patience with computers and collaborated with others when exceptions occurred (especially XAML parse errors).

I was inspired by the idea of being able to share my photos and videos interactively.   To encourage users to interact with the surface, I made two tangible objects: a storybook and a mystery person. 
I made the story book a tangible object because I like the idea of being able to get information about an image by placing a book on top of it.  This works as a tangible object and not a button because I want the user to be able to move the photo around by holding the book.  The focus should be on the story of the picture.  I made the mystery person a tangible object because, again, I wanted the user to be able to manipulate the image.  In this case, I also wanted the user to be able to move the “identified” image around in case they also wanted to see the original image. 

The three main controls involve what the user would like to do.  They can view pictures, view videos, or receive hints on what to do.  The words “pictures” and “videos” are buttons, which then show all of the pictures or all of the videos.  The hint button is a toggle button, which allows the user to toggle the hint text (while the button is “checked/on” the text changes to “hide hints” to let the user know how to make the hint text disappear).

For the videos and pictures, the next screen shows many scatter view items with either a picture or video inside.  The user can then control the picture or video’s size and location by moving the boundaries or moving the object.  The user can also control what detail they would like to see, this control is given by a Tag Visualizer.  The user can use different tagged items (the storybook or the mystery person) to decide what information they would like to know. 

While interacting with Tangible Stories, users are able to talk to each other and discuss the pictures or videos.  The volume is soft enough that they are able to make comments while watching videos and enjoy watching them.  The application encourages socialization, which is great because it is just a medium for users to learn about a trip or memories.  Interacting with this application is realistic because the photos are scattered about on a coffee table, but also has digital aspects because videos are also scattered on the coffee table and more information about the images and video may be easily discovered.

Here is a video of my version of Tangible Stories:

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