During this post I will be discussing my final decisions for the design of my slideshow that will allow me to put forth my project statement in full detail. The image below shows my notes and initial drawings on the ideas of my designs and I will use this post to finalize and state my decisions.

Figure 1. Design choices.

Figure 1. Design choices.

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Project Rationale

My project is a slideshow of 12 slides intended to be used on a tablet or mobile device and is targeted towards 18 – 21 year old students who are either at the end of their college or during their university course. The slideshow is to be viewed after a student has participated in a form of group work and its intention is to highlight on the reflective stage. Whilst the phase of group working adds great value to an improvement in skills, a lot can be learnt by reflecting on what happened during that process. Therefore this slideshow asks students to consider what happened in their group and to put forth ideas that will make them rethink the necessity of group work by identifying 5 key characteristics and explaining their importance on a level that is identifiable.

Below is a clear outline of the design and user experience elements.

1. Timing.

The slideshow shall be intended to last for 2-3 minutes. This will depend on the individuals reading time and also their dwell time. Also it is important to note some users will skip through quicker than others whereas some will give more time and consideration to what it asks of them.

2. Readability.

12 slides (content explained below) which averages at 41 words per slide (some less like the 2 dwell slides) which is a good average. This (500 total )will be the maximum word count however. This assumes an average reading speed of 165 words per minute (WPM). According to ‘ExecuRead’ “The average reading speed is 200 to 250 words a minute in non-technical material.”

http://www.execuread.com/facts/

This graph below is also useful in considering reading speed and also the comprehension rate, which for me, I’m aiming for 80%.

Figure 2. WPM.

Figure 2. WPM.

Admittedly the authority of these sources is questionable however I have looked at various sources and the general consensus I have is that 165 WPM is below the average rate and so I think based on that I am very confident that this word count is appropriate. Also I would make the point that this material could be aimed at students at the end of their college course some of which would be vocational and so they may have less developed reading and comprehension skills. Therefore this would appeal to them too. Whilst at the other end of the spectrum I think it is still appropriate for university students as it does not undermine their reading ability.

3. Language.

According to both, ‘Using English.com’ and the ‘Gunning fog Index’ the index for students aged 18 years old is 12.  Technical documentation typically has a an index between 10 and 15 and professional prose almost never exceeds 18. Whilst texts for a wide audience generally need a fog index lower than 12 and the requirements for universal understanding generally need an index less than 8. Based on this information it would suggest that my content writing needs to have an index of 12 to appeal to 18 year old students (the lowest of my range). However because I have indicated that it may aim towards students from vocational courses, I think it is a good decision to lower the index to 11. I do not think this takes away the appeal for older university students. Also because the slides will not be structured with long, in-depth sentences, but rather keywords and short questions and phrases, I do not expect this to be a problem (achieving an index score of 11).

4. Content.

The content of the slides will focus primarily on highlighting the 5 main characteristics that I identified in an earlier post (14/02/15). It will summarise key elements of successful teamwork and make the user aware of what these mean and to consider how they worked in their own group working situations by reflecting on their experience. As these are the main content these will be the slides that are filled with the most words. Those 5 characteristics are:

Purpose, healthy conflict, leadership, plan/delegation of tasks and identification of personality types and strengths and weaknesses.

So there will be a title slide followed by purpose, a list of the 5 characteristics, 5 slides in reference to the above, a recap slide and a conclusive slide. Prior to the 5 main slides there will be one slide which just says “Think”. and after the 5, one that says, “sound familiar”. These are to directly address the user and request their attention and to think about what it is asking exactly. I have decided to do this for 3 reasons.

i. To break up the text of other slides so it is easy to read and introduces a quick and subtle break during the experience.

ii. To directly request the user to really consider what is being asked of them.

iii. To give the user dwell time and to allow them to have time to think and reflect which is essential to the aim of this project. It is important to note that these “easier” slides are purposely positioned either side of the main content which is the most demanding. Therefore it gives them a break and allows the main content to achieve maximum effectiveness in how well it can be received.

So, the below images illustrate the slide content and format.

Figure 3. Slide Format.

Figure 3. Slide Format.

5. Slide colour and font

For the slide colour I will be using primarily blue as the background colour, with white font and a different Image blended into the back. I have chosen blue as I think it is a calm and easy to digest colour and also it is very representational of social media and the notion of networking which given my audience’s age would be something very recognisable to them. Therefore I think it is can also be associated with the idea of teamwork as that is of course based on foundations of social and networking elements. It is also iconic to corporate imagery and so I think it will give it a credible and authoritative feeling to it which is very positive.

I intend to change the shade of blue as each slide goes on so that it shows progression. The image below is an example of 12 different shades of blue that show very subtle change, but big enough from start to finish and also it is evident that the text is visible at each stage.

I did consider using white as my background colour with an image overlaid to the left above the sitemap and the title and content to the right. I think that white too has a contemporary and professional feel to it and making good use of white space creates good blank space to avoid noise. However this means that I could not blend an Image into the background and it would just sit over the top. Whilst I think making use of white space is clear and can communicate well it can also be very boring and lead to a loss of interest. Also by blending the background image in across the whole slide I think this gives a unified and coherent feel to it rather than just having an image placed there for what can just look like the sake of it.

Other decisions that were considered were a change of colour so from blue to red. Again though I think that this can cause distraction and can look quite amateurish if not done well. The main intent of this idea was to establish a progression in the timeline of the slideshow but I can achieve this using a sitemap (discussed below).

Figure 4. Colour Palette.

Figure 4. Colour Palette.

For the font I will be using ‘Sansation’ (shown below) for the headers of each slide. This sans serif font is modern and clear, with an appealing and contemporary shape. However the ‘k’ is very similar to the ‘R’ and the ‘f’ and ‘l’ are very close together and this could cause confusion and a halt in read time. It is likely there will be a strong sense of aporia and whilst the time to achieve the epiphany may not be great, it is still unwarranted in this situation given that it is a source of information. Therefore I will use ‘Arial’ as my font for the content of the slide. This way, it communicates well, is easy to read and still has a captivating and exciting read via the slide headings.

 

Figure 5. Sansation example.

Figure 5. Sansation font example.

I did consider using either ‘Futura’ or ‘Rockwell’ typeface instead of Arial (all shown below). I think both are very nice visually and have great readability however they are not as simple as Arial. I think that they could conflict with the heading font as this is quite eccentric. Therefore I would rather have Sansation for my headings and something more simple for the content. Also, the text is overlaying an image and so it is best that it is a simple font that avoids creating minimal noise.

Futura Font Rockwell Font

Figure 7. Futura, Rockwell and Arial typeface.

Figure 6. Futura, Rockwell and Arial typeface.

6. Format and intended platform.

As this slideshow is intended for 18 – 21 year old’s it will be made primarily available for tablet and mobile use. This is because a lot of time is spent using these and more importantly they have instant access to my artefact which means it is efficient and more likely to be consumed. It is far more likely my audience will view the slideshow on a device they have on them as opposed to using a computer as that requires a lot of extra activity and so it is not as convenient to consume. I shall also look to export the slideshow in a format which does not require ‘PowerPoint’ to open and so again, this will make it more accessible.

Therefore the slides shall be designed at 1024 x 768 in a 16:9 ratio.

Although I think this design works best in this format I think it could also be used very well on a series of posters. Obviously the design would be different because there would need to be less than 12. I think in the form of posters they would be good to have displayed in some form of place that displays the artefacts of group work like an exhibition. This way it would prompt thought whilst its audience is amongst the actual content of the theme of the posters itself.

7. Sitemap.

I will position a sitemap at the bottom of each slide which will allow the user to be aware of where they are on each slide. This is important as it communicates very clearly to the audience how much is left and also how much they have already experienced which helps in their understanding of the content. The design of this will be 12 white silhouette figures holding hands (similar to below). On each slide one will have just a white outline and then its body/infill will be the blue slide colour. This denotes which slide the user is on and the figures are synonymous with teamwork therefore it is language that is easy to understand its affordable. The aporia should be very short and like stated above this is very important as i do not want the users attention to be focusing on this feature. Therefore its subtle design will be very effective.

Figure 6. Sitemap

Figure 7. Sitemap

Another possibility was to use a design similar to that of the image below (Figure 7). I would use figures each displaying letters spelling out ‘Group work’ as this would be iconic to the theme. However I think that it is  a lot of noise and takes away the users attention from the main content. Whereas the first design is subtle, iconic to the theme and also the design as it is simplistic. Another issue with this one is that it is cartoonistic and so takes away from the professional feel that will credit its authority.

Figure 7. Option 2 of the sitemap design.

Figure 8. Option 2 of the sitemap design.

 

8. User experience narrative.

George has just finished his day working with his group for his physical computing project at university. The instillation was put up today and this spelled the end of the project and his work with his group members. George had a mixed experience with working in a group and he is unsure about how successful and also how beneficial the exercise was.

He is asked to look at a slideshow over the next few days which is sent to him by email and which he can also download from the university’s online learning portal. The slideshow asks him to reflect on his group work experience and to consider what he has learnt from it whilst it will highlight some important factors that he would not have necessarily seen by himself. He opens the slideshow on his iPad as he has it on him at this time and so it is more convenient for him although he could also use his PC.

George spends 3 minutes looking through the slides which he finds easy to read and takes in the information the slides put forth whilst giving himself time to reflect on what happened over the duration of his project. It gives him a different angle of looking at his experience and allows him to understand why although some of what happened may have been negative, it still provided him with very beneficial experience and allowed him to develop important skills.

 

References

ExecuRead. (n.d)’Speed Reading facts’. [online] Available at: http://www.execuread.com/facts/ [Accessed on 28/02/15]

Gunning Fog Index. (n.d). [online] Available at: http://gunning-fog-index.com/ [Accessed on 28/02/15]

Using English. (n.d) ‘Term: Fog Index’. [online] Available at: http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/fog-index.html [Accessed on 28/02/15]

Figure 2. ‘Getting Into the “Zone” with Reading Rates’. [online] Available at: http://carriedeahl.typepad.com/.a/6a0154337f6730970c014e8aac3eaa970d-pi [Accessed on 28/02/15]

Figure 5. Image available at: http://cdn1.fontsquirrel.com/fnt_imgs/b0/6ad7/b83e55d7b3599a21635ab88644/sp-720.png [Accessed on 28/02/15]

Figure 6. Images available (in order) at:http://typophile.com/files/Damo1_5682.jpg, http://www.fontsplace.com/images/chars/rockwell_roman_characters_174043.gif, http://www.designworkplan.com/wp-content/typeface-arial.gif                        [Accessed on 28/02/15]

Figure 8. Image available at: http://www.proapps-solution.com/photo/teamwork.jpg [Accessed on 28/02/15]

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