Digital designs

As well as this album of handmade things – where I do the design, engineering and construction – I wanted to share some of the more conceptual and collaborative design (and design-thinking) work I do.

As a result of taking some units toward a Master of Digital Design, I have an OpenProcessing portfolio with a few interesting sketches – my favourite is the acoustic swarm (best with headphones). Also, here’s a paper I wrote on digital museum experience design.

My largest-scale design project is Sembl, the game of analogies – see all the posts categorised as design and development, or peruse my personal favourites:

  • early sketches for the first iteration, the steampunk-styled iPad game
  • slideshow demonstration of how to play the web-based game
  • diagrams that helped me think through the various combinations of how to list games, since they can be open or hosted, in progress or completed, mine (as a player or as a host) or not-mine

By nature, in order to understand something I visualise it.

As an employee of the public cultural sector, I sometimes have opportunities to dream up and visualise how a product (a website, publication, program or experience) will appear and function:

  • For all kinds of reasons, some of my ideas go nowhere:
    • proposal for a climate-change simulator (small PDF) to generate data on human responses to global warming and our willingness (or not) to adapt
    • an alternate reality game to commemorate the First World War
    • a participatory audio story for the Garden of Australian Dreams (based on the Subtle Mob group)
    • Responder app (link to sketches for a prototype), for enabling exhibition visitors to speak back to the exhibits and each other
  • Sometimes I instigate and refine something cool, such as @kasparbot, which auto-tweets links to collection items but which can also be co-opted by staff to talk to people interacting with the actual telepresence robot.
  • Sometimes I have carriage of a whole project and operate as an architect of participation (my dream job title). An example is Object Stories, a project to encourage people to make a narrated slideshow that can be as compelling to watch as it is simple to make.
  • Other times even though the concept and the content are pretty cool – such as this augmented-reality newspaper liftout – because of reasons it’s not quite what I imagined.
  • Quite often I can get away with doing something small-scale, edgy and experimental, such as this hybrid event exploring in-person and online slow looking
  • In a recent Museum project, I was part of a small team conceptualising and testing an interface that maps the emotional affect of records of World War I.

field of emotions In a previous role as editorial manager of websites at the National Archives, I had few opportunities to design interfaces myself, but as a staunch advocate for innovative access to archival records, and with a modicum of influence, I was sometimes integral to the approval of a design concept. I am particularly proud to have supported these two projects from 2008:

  • Mitchell Whitelaw’s project on The visible archive, in which he prototyped a gorgeous interface for dynamically browsing all 65,000 archival series, and a very nifty interface for faceted browsing of a single series, A1.
  • This brainchild of Tim Sherratt should have been called Local heroes. It geo-locates over 300,000 World War I service records by place of birth and place of enlistment, revealing new information about our collective war effort, and has an adjunct Tumblr scrapbook for attaching personal mementos to individual service records.

Finally, here’s a 2-minute movie on iPad called What I know about learning.

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