Imperial War Museum Image of Social Interpretation Blog title

Are you (user) experienced?

Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps Signallers telephone exchange in the First World War.

So we’re beginning to wireframe the kiosk interfaces for Social Interpretation. Tom has sketched them, Claire has braved the public on gallery to see if they ‘get ‘ them and now our designer, Christian gets to make the whole thing look nice and work as a good user interface should – without users having to think too much about anything but the content and what they want to do with it.

Alongside the front-end work, user flows (mapping out what people are going to be able to do on the kiosks) have been drawn. They in turn feed the kiosk developers’ needs (hello to Ben) so he can build all the possible actions and interactions. Hopefully making sure in the process our end users (the public) don’t ever get stuck, lost or just can’t do anything on the kiosks. As that is when they walk away muttering in frustration or disgust, or both.

Soon the mobile application part of SI will come up the Gannt chart to greet us. Tom has brain-dumped a horrific looking user flow for this. It looks too big for an application on such a little thing as a smart phone, really. But it’s not a simple, simple thing, making an application that allows users to do social things with collections objects. It needs careful thought about what primary tasks we want people to do, what tasks people will actually want to do, where people will want to share what they do (Twitter, Facebook) and what people will be able to do with what they have (comment, like, dislike, collect).

In terms of designing the mobile application for SI, how we judge what is too little or too much to see on screen at any one time is crucial. After you have sorted your little matter of content, mobile applications are all about good interface design. Some of this we can cover off with sketched wireframes, let loose via Claire on the public. But as much of the success of a mobile application is actually about using the phone and its touch screen, we’ll need to test iterations of the actual app build too. Because if a tap, swoosh or slide is not obvious to the user, then we have, as it were, hidden our content light under a badly designed bushel.

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