Lecture Inspired Trials

Erica Scourti said that there is an intimacy between people and the computers that they use. Specifically, people do not mind their computer knowing about their search history which is definitely something intimate and something we wouldn’t want to share with other people. Thus, a computer is seen as something that generates trust.

I kept thinking about how I would want to draw my audience into my website. In my pitch I thought I could create a landing page and put a person with ‘You deserve to be seen’ words around them. I initially thought that that would capture people’s attention and act as a persuasion slogan that will make people share their data as they go through my website. However, after Erica’s lecture I think maybe I could approach it in a different way and since she mentioned that people trust their computers more with things like their search histories, I thought that I could put a computer screen as the landing page and have the users click on the messages that appear on it’s screen. The use of humor in the messages will make the person want to click more and this could maybe act as a part that will grab the users’ attention and make them want to proceed further into my website.

Below are images of my trials using the computer as a focus point. I used Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Muse to play around with this concept in order to see how I could portray it visually in a website. The images of the colored screen were trials for the landing page while the images with the social media icons around it were trials for a possible homepage.

Inspiration 1: http://hotdot.pro/#bilet2u

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The homepage trials were influenced by this website that I found online which I really liked. I liked the way it looked visually and especially loved the effects used on the pages. The above screenshot shows social media icons floating around a creature in the middle. I liked the fact that all of the icons are in different sizes as well as the fact that some icons are blurred out while some are in focus. This creates a sense of dimension and gave it a 3D effect which made me feel like I lost touch with my reality and I was part of this new reality that the website was portraying. This is a really strong effect to use and I really want to incorporate that effect into my website. This is why I have tried a similar approach with the trials shown above.

Inspiration 2:  Website Design by Alberto Conti (https://www.behance.net/gallery/15423833/Ortoromi)

This website has a similar effect to the one mentioned above. Once again I really want to try and incorporate that into my own website as I think that it gives a very visually pleasing effect and when combined with a critical concept, it could create a more significant and dramatic impact on the audience as they will feel like they are part of this reality.

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Visual Research: Game-inspired design

Inspiration 1: https://2016.fromthefront.it/

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The website above is very well designed visually. I think that their use of colors was very successful as the dark backdrop and the very bright colors of the images and font makes the website appear more captivating. It definitely makes me want to explore the website more. I think the font that they have used is a little retro and reminds me of a vintage game or something similar to that. I think I could incorporate either the font or the use of this contrast in  colors into my own website.

Inspiration 2: https://www.behance.net/gallery/43562041/COUP-DE-COEUR-FRANCOPHONE-2016

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I picked this website because I really liked the combination of these colors. They’re all different yet somehow they seem to work really well together. I think looking at the combination of these colors is very visually pleasing. I might try using some of  these colors for my website.

Inspiration 3: http://www.fornasetti.com/en/secretpage

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This website is actually a game in which these faces fly up and you have to shoot them. The website grabbed my attention instantly and I actually played the whole game which I think shows that it was quite successful! The website has a collage-inspired feel because it looks like these status are cutouts from magazines or something like that. The colors they used work really well together too. I think overall, I am very happy that I found this website as I do feel like I could include similar cutouts of people on my website which will create a vintage effect and thus add a visual element that can become a game.

Inspiration 4: https://www.behance.net/gallery/44944357/Some-personal-work

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This work has the most game-like aesthetics out of all of the above examples. When looking at the interactive images created by Florent Hauchard, I really get the sense that I am actually there, participating in his game. I think that the movement created within this work captured my own attention which shows that it can capture the attention of the users at a greater extent then normal still images. I think his work also captures some aspect of the concept of identity that I have been exploring earlier. It looks like these personas are being controlled by the like or dislike buttons which can relate to concept of identity control. I think this work made me aware of the vital role that interaction and movement plays in the engagement of the audience and I will therefore try to implement that into my own project.

Website Plan and Structure

As discussed earlier, my website will address the topic of Identity and Data. I will thus be creating a website that will allow a user to go through a ‘journey’. This will be done by creating a quiz, the aim of which will be to persuade the users to give more and more information/data about themselves as they answers questions in each step of the quiz.

The website will incorporate game-like visuals and colors to grab people’s attention and make their experience seem ‘fun’ so they would want to continue further along my website. Each page will thus ask the user to answer a certain basic question such as ‘What is your nickname?’ and ‘What is your gender?’. Initially these questions will appear very basic and harmless so the user will not mind sharing this information. However, the further that they progress, the more personal these questions will be. I think that when the questions get more personal people will want to find out what their result is, especially since they have already spent a significant amount of time on the website, they will thus proceed with answering the questions.

Once they reach the final question they will get to a page that will say ‘Something went wrong. Your information was lost. Please try again’. There will be a visual animation of data being dispersed all around the page. This will serve as a reality check because the user will realize that they have just shared a lot of information on an unverified website and they dont know where it has now gone and who has access to it. I think this will allow them to think about the issues of security. There will also be a button or something like that which will appear with a statistic such as ’80 percent of people share information online without thinking’ which will act as a source of education for the user.

Plan:

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This is a very rough plan of how the pages within the website. Even though I have only displayed 3 quiz questions above, I will actually have around 6-10 questions in my final project next term.

These are the potential questions that I thought my quiz could be based on:

  • How digitally integrated are you?
  • Do you belong in the digital world?
  • Are you digital enough?
  • How significant are you online?
  • Can we guess who you are based on just 8 questions?
  • How digital are you?

I created these questions when I was brainstorming all the possible questions that I could ask through my website. I definitely want the question to have the word ‘you’ in it as i think this will be the perfect way to appeal to the users’ sense of self. I think after creating this list of potential questions and asking people in my class as well as my friends, one question stood out the most which is ‘How digital are you?’ . I think it perfectly incorporates the concepts that I have been exploring so far and it is interesting enough to attract people’s attention.

Theory: Online Game-Based Learning

Since I decided to make my personality test-based website have an educational outcome, I therefore wanted to look at a strategy that could incorporate this educational quality in the best way possible. I started doing research and the majority of articles that I have found, related to online game-based learning. Thus, I decided to look into this in more detail.

Quote 1 : ‘Digital games, initially designed for the mass market with few educational connections, have gained increasing interests from educators and researchers [as] when used effectively in instruction, [they] can improve learning through increased motivation and engagement’ (Sadera et al., 2014, p.1).

This article was mainly discussing the use of digital games in a school environment to improve learning outcomes. While my website is not aimed at school environments, this article serves as a perfect source of information for a possible game-based website design as my website is promoting an educational outcome in the form of raising awareness of the danger when sharing data online. Since game-based learning is proven to be very successful, I believe that I can use this in order to construct a website that allows for the engagement of the audience by allowing them to participate in a ‘fun’ environment. They will thus be participating and getting entertainment which I think will be the perfect way to simultaneously use their engagement to educate them.

Quote 2: ‘motivation as a function of the engaging, interactive environment that is experienced through digital-learning games’ (Sadera et al., 2014, p.1).

This quote reinforces the previous quote in a sense that it mentions that the  interactive environment that is created online through a digital game could serve as a source of motivation to learn. This article has inspired me to consider implementing  game-like aesthetics in my website as I now believe that the combination of interactivity and game-like aesthetics can significantly improve the engagement level of my target audience. I will therefore need to start looking at websites that implement these game-like aesthetics in order to get a sense of what I need to create in my own interactive website.

Bibliography:

Sadera, W., Li, Q., Song, L. and Liu, L. (2014). Digital Game-Based Learning. Computers in the Schools, 31(1-2), pp.1-1.

Lecture: Erica Scourti

Today’s lecturer was Erica Scourti. Her work is directly interwoven with the concepts of the digital. She mentioned that personal information and intimate data is being read and turned into commercial value. People create profile’s online and these profiles are then treated like a statistical image or a second image of you. Because of this, she said that the online self has got a value and it needs to be managed because it can betray you and do something you don’t want it to. This directly relates to the concepts that have been explored in relation to my project as I myself have been looking at the commercialization of data and how data is used by advertising companies. I think that it was interesting that she mentioned that the online self (the sharing of data) needs to be managed as it can betray you because I have been researching exactly that. I have been looking at privacy issues and issues of persuasion and control by these companies that are sometimes able to manipulate who you are and what you want. The more data you supply them, the more efficient they will be at doing this which will allow them to make even more money.

Additionally she said the the digital has created a fractured and fragmented identity narrative. In other words, people feel lost and unable to define who they are. Erica then mentioned that people take personality tests as they believe that they are an objective measurement that can tell you who you are. This once again relates exactly to the same issues that I have been exploring and I have also already looked at creating a personality-type quiz on my website. I think hearing her talk about these issues reaffirmed their significance and now, more then ever I’m convinced that my website will indeed address issues that are in need of being addressed.

Moreover, Erica talked about the existence of a level of intimacy between a person and the machine. She explained this by saying that people don’t mind their computer knowing about their search history, but if a friend or someone else looks at it, it becomes a violation of privacy. I think this means that a search history is something private and intimate, it is something you cant share with anyone but your computer as it holds a level of trust. However, she also mentioned that in reality, a computer can easily betray you as your data is constantly monitored. The computer then takes a role of a leaky friend who gives away too much. Erica has incorporated these concepts into a fictional memoire written by a ghost writer based on her personal data in the form of URL history and user search. I think this project is very cleverly put together as she has given someone her search history in order to see what kind of profile could be created and whether it is representative of who she is as a person. I am very interesting in her project as it deals with these same issues of identity and data which I am exploring in my project. By giving her data to someone else, she has knowingly given her information away, while usually, our personal information is obtained without our permission or our knowledge even.

I think that the one thing that stood out to me the most was the concept that computers generate a level of trust. I think this could be something that I could incorporate into my own project, maybe have a computer screen that guides and talks to the users as they progress through the website? Maybe that will gain their trust and make them share more data? I need to explore these concepts further.

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‘Beyond the Bias- Reshaping Image’

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I have also attended the Brighton Photo Biennale exhibition. The work that was exhibited there was mainly centered around the concept of exposing the reality and portraying transgender people that are ‘unapologetic’ towards showing who they are. Most of the photographs had a rawness effect to them, which made the subjects portrayed in the photos seem very authentic and real. I however didn’t find any similarities with my own project both conceptually and aesthetically as my project deals with controlling identity and oversharing data online. Thus, I thought that the photographs didn’t really inspire anything in the making of my own project. However, I did capture one particular photograph that really stood out to me. It was a photograph of a young man and I think that when you look directly at his face, he seems very exposed and real which aesthetically goes directly against my project that will portray people with a covered or blurred face. This was significant because I thought it was interesting to see a completely different effect with a similar emphasis on the face.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Today I attended the Brighton Art Gallery as there was an exhibition of various Greek and Cypriot artists. The artist that grabbed my attention was Souzana Petri, who created the vase sculptures pictured above. I think that based on all the research that I have done on identity and concealment of the human face made me more aware of the expression of these concepts in relation to other people’s work. Thus, I immediately noticed Souzana’s work and identified the aesthetic similarities that her work has to the concepts that I have been exploring in relation to my own project. The fact that she uses a  different medium to portray these aesthetics than my website-based project really interested me as it provided more research into how these aesthetics could be represented in different way.

Despite the fact that she used these similar concepts of covering the facial features in a different context, I think it was still relevant to my own project. Additionally, the fact that I was able to actually see and touch the work, made me visualize how my project could look and it also made me realize that I am ready to start experimenting and creating my project. Overall, I think her work inspired me to use more 3D-like animations in my website so that when the audience interacts with my website, it seems like the objects in my animation could be touched.