I spent 4 months at Aalborg Universitetsforlag (Aalborg University Press) as an intern. These are some of the things I have made. After my internship was over, I got a part time job there, so more is coming soon...
The motivation for this project came from a Matchmaking event organized at Aalborg University, where amongst other companies Feriecenter Slettestrand (FSstr) presented its activities, the challenges they faced and the problem fields in which they would like to get help from students. FSstr is located in North Denmark right next to the seaside by Svinkløv Nature Reservation in the municipality of Jammerbugt. The company has a really wide range of different facilities, such as restaurant, training area, gym, hot water swimming pool and mountain bikes, as well as mountain bike related equipments and routes. These facilities target different groups of guests, such as families with children, persons with disabilities, company events and mountain bikers. During the Matchmaking event FSstr expressed interest in setting focus on developing as an international mountain bike center. Our goal – with my fellow student Rima Palubinskiene - through this project was to deepen our knowledge of design theory and methods with special focus on interactive design. We carried out this project by studying different forms of innovations, the functional and aesthetic qualities of an interactive product and their application in practice. We applied different research methods in order to develop an interactive concept, which is based on user-generated content. Scientifically we investigated the developement of semiotics based hypothesis about user-generated content, which could be used as a communication and marketing tool byFSstr. Regarding FSstr company`s communication, we found out that most of their actual guests visited the place after a personal recommendation of a friend or acquaintance, while it is difficult to find relevant and updated information about FSstr`s activities on the Internet. Their new web-page is being currently redesigned by a professional web design company Apart from redesigning and keeping it updated it is also important to make it possible to find it on the internet, if someone has not heard about it in advance. Meanwhile the company does not have the resources to work with this area regularly because of its relatively few staff members. During our research we found that the FSstr location makes it possible also for not experienced mountain bikers to enjoy this sport. This means that the target group is wider and more diversified than barely experienced or professional mountain bikers. Based on our research we have formulated the following problem statement for our project: How can user-generated storytelling serve as communication and marketing tools for Feriecenter Slettestrand? Based on expressed FSstr’s vision of growing the company as mountain bike center on international level, we have developed a user-generated storytelling concept. This would motivate people to visit the place, documenting their experiences - regardless if it is associated with a short event or a longer holiday – by using the physical facilities and the associated web-based applications. This would also help to promote FSstr especially amongst those who have not visited FSstr yet and search for relevant and reliable information about the place. Our concept “Se min Slettestrand!” (See my Slettestrand!) requires a personalized user profile on the company’s homepage, created by the guest. We use as case study a mountain biking holiday group. The concept can be easily extended to any other activities. Along the mountain biking route there would be taken pictures, recorded videos of the cyclists, as well as GPS measurements. This would be possible to realize both by installed cameras in the forest along the routes, installed cameras on the bicycle and/or one’s bike helmet, as well as with portable GPS devices. After cycling, the guests would get their digital recording files automatically organized in a folder under their own personalized profile. Files could be sorted, commented by the user and could be shared with other user via the FSstr webpage application or via other social networking websites. Sharing experiences could help to promote FSstr actively, while the user profiles, producing images and other content would create up-to-date material on the Internet, which could ensure that potential customers could find FSstr with the help of search engines. The user profiles have another side too, which could only be seen by FSstr’s staff. It would help them to record each guest’s habits, interest, activities, culinary preferences and special needs, etc. and save their time by automating the booking process. This database would also make it possible to provide intelligent services, and guests would experience that the staff could remember them personally. Furthermore FStr would be able to send personalized holiday and activity offers to their guests. The concept “Se min Slettestrand!” would operate as a virtual club that ensures connection between FSstr and its guests, which would start before and would still be kept after the actual mountain biking; it could extend the experiences and help to provide information for guests generated by guests. We demonstrate our concept in the form of a concept video and a set of print screens of the designed web application. “Se min Slettestrand!” is a concept ready for further refining and will hopefully contribute to FSstr’s development.
The motivation for this group project came from the term Multimodal Literacy in the question of "How could the E-book of the future look like?" presented to us by Nota, Nationalbibliotek for mennesker med læsevanskeligheder (the Danish National Library for the Blind, People with Dyslexia and Reading Disorders). Before June 2009, Nota has only been in charge of providing text and digital audible content for the blind and visually impaired people, which they have been doing for about 80 years. After 2009, they have been given by Kulturministeriet (the Ministery of Culture) the additional task to provide knowledge content for a new and growing target audience: people with dyslexia and reading disorders, with different needs compared to Nota's initial target audience. We have done research on Nota's current mode of operation and how they produce content to their two target audiences. Furthermore, we have performed several targeted interviews with five pupils from Ryå Efterskole and five adults: a blind, a visually impaired, a dyslexic, a teacher, and the headmaster of Ryå Efterskole. Based on this research we have formulated the following problem statement for our project: How can a user centric interactive digital application facilitate a better reading experience for people with dyslexia and assist them in becoming equals in accessing knowledge as "common" readers? We started out with a phenomenological approach by doing research on learning strategies, on how the human being learn and accumulate knowledge, and how people with dyslexia are described in the literature, in order to get a better understanding of what the dyslexia really is. We have investigated the current media technologies and applications developed to support people with dyslexia to read, write and learn in school. As the result of our research we have developed a concept for an E-book reader and a prototype for tablet computer with the main objective of helping the persons with dyslexia in getting a better reading experience by giving the possibility to choose between the different help functions which can be definded on the profile site. Our main recommendation is to provide the possibility to the user to create visual and audible anchor points inside the application while reading an E-book. This interactive feature will help the persons with dyslexia mark the progress inside the E-book reader and will facilitate an enhanced reading experience. Here are some print screens from the prototype:
Since I've started to study "Interaktive Digitale Medier" in the Aalborg University time flies. After a short intro period we had a so called U-CrAc (User-Driven Creative Academy) workshop for 3 weeks. Here students from different fields - interactive digital media, user experience design, industrial design and occupational therapy - worked in groups on cases given by real clients - companies and organizations. It is all about innovation: each group got a different case and we had to solve them by using certain methods. Our group got Castberggaard as a client, which is a center for hearing impaired people. We had to work on a system, which measures the stress level of hearing impaired employees in different working places. Since the case was too wide, we shared it with to other groups. One of them had to work out a device, which measures the stress. Our group made some suggestions about, how to process the measured data. The third group found some ways to deal with the problem in the long run. Instead of well known methods such as brain storm or sketches, we had to use some recently learned methods. First of all we had do observe a subject of our case. That is why we visited a teacher - with the handicap mentioned above - in his class, and we filmed him. Then we analyzed the films and found out, what made him frustrated and how he dealt with the problems. The next step was using body storm. This is like brain storm, but instead of words we had to use our own bodies. We had to play the problems and then spontaneously the solutions, too. Maybe it sounds weird, but we really had to feel what the problem was like. We taped these body storms, too, and then we analyzed them to get even more ideas. After that we made three video sketches with possible solutions:
The great thing about video sketching was that we didn't have to worry about the details: if we didn't have a device, we just made one of paper. Or we could easily fake an operating program on the screen by using PowerPoint slides. The point was the demonstrate the idea. We presented them to our client, the representative of Castbergaard. Though we had some suggestions for preventing the stressful situations, we agreed to work out the sketch, which is a kind of first aid kit when stress is already around. Here is the video about it:
The whole project is published in our subside. It was a great experience to be a part of a group of people from different departments of the university, so we could contribute to our project in a varied way. Our client was impressed about the result, too.
About a week ago I participated in a game developing marathon called Indie9000 arranged by Unge Spiludviklere. I had never worked on a computer game before and it was the highest time to try it. I was a bit concerned when I saw that most of the participants were experienced in programming or in graphics. The topic this time was "adaption" and my group got inspired very quickly and went crazy with some Savanna stories. It was very intensive, we had less than 48 hours to develop our game. During the process I got a careful guide about how a game is designed and were allowed to work on some sub tasks, mostly on the vectorized graphic part of it. Actually, it was fun! The game can be seen (and tried) here.
A good old friend of mine, living in California and working as a volunteer in the Sierra Nevada Wilderness, asked me to help with one of their projects. It was about making a decal with two purposes. The first use is by wilderness rangers. This way the decals are intended to be used to encourage conversations with visitors about good stewardship practices, and as a tool to emphasize and make conversation more memorable and positive (the opposite of a Violation Notice.) The second use is to offer the decals for sale at relevant outlets as a souvenir of National Forest Wilderness. (The upper right one was chosen from the color variations.) The goal of the design is to create a decal attractive as both a souvenir and as a back-country wilderness stewardship education tool. I made a small research on, what kind of animals or plants live in the Sierra, and which ones are "popular" amongst visitors. I found that marmot is considered to be a funny creature with its look and behavior, so the decal of it could also be popular. The print is waterproof and suitable for attaching to windows, water bottles, etc. as is popular with many outdoor enthusiasts.
My friend's boss liked one of my other sketches. He asked me to finalize that design so it could be used as a T-shirt motive for the summer volunteer crew. Though mosquito is quite irritating during the summertime, with a good sense of humor it can be taken.
I have already made a post about the design of a Hungarian gastro-blog. Robert, the owner of that great blog meant that it was the highest time to make an English version of it, and asked me for some help. After some online brainstorm (we have never met in real life), we found a name of it: myBites. The new site is not a direct translation of the original Hungarian blog, but a complete and structured website with photos, recipes and events. It was me, who designed the logo for it. I knew already Robert's concept and taste, so it was easy to make the first sketches and he found his favorite one immediately. The final logo's colors are warm and natural, they refer to food. The letter B is a bite from a load of bread, and a similar bite pops up in the menu and in the favicon.
It was Robert, who made the site's programming, but I also contributed with my ideas and advices. It comes without mentioning, that it also has a Facebook site.
This is a new initiative of the Hungarian Society in Aalborg. In order to attract more Danes from now on we formulate everything both in Hungarian and in Danish. If you are around Aalborg and feel like cooking/eating something delicious, just sign up!