Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview

Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.

Video highlights from the apps (36-minute version)

This montage provides a sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FVM app is splitting (and starting new life)

Because we want to offer a polished public version of the FVM app as well as maintain our abilities to experiment and use a version of the app as a mobile storytelling research tool, the FVM app has been split into two versions.

Those of you with the FVM app already installed eventually will be getting a much more streamlined and commercially slick version, in preparation for the public launch in June. That app will be where tested material gets put to general public use.

The research branch of the app will be moved to a new version, dubbed FVM labs. This way, members of the public who just want to use and enjoy the app will not have to filter through the experimental material, or be frustrated by it, while those eager to test the latest efforts can get sneak peeks into where we are going with the project.

Button redesign, as part of prep for public launch in June

We are redesigning the look of the FVM app to better reflect our growing partnership with the National Park Service, as we prepare to move parts of the FVM app out of beta testing and into a public product (where the other parts will go is covered here).

To recap, we want to move away from the lone arrowhead button, because of the conflicts that icon might cause with the branding of National Park Service apps in the future. We also want to match the style and standards being set by the National Park Service, through its National Mall and Memorial Parks app.

So the buttons here show the trademark black bar on the top, and the menu screen uses the National Mall app as inspiration for the fort version. The image on the menu screen is for spacing purposes only, and an image will need to be selected in the near future, if we use photography (rather than illustration; that page also could be a graphic). The menu bar is shown on the bottom here, but it also could be placed on the side. Text also likely will need to be added. ...

From here, we need to decide which of these button ideas (or suggest another one) will replace the arrowhead button we are using now and give lead designer Marsha Matta feedback about the designs, in terms of what you like, what you don't like, etc. ... We have a design committee looking at these, too, but we also want to open the process up to the public as much as possible. So, if you have a comment, please post it here.


Per the comments, here are the images mentioned:

From Greg Shine:

From Kapuanani Antonio:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Columbian coverage of the FVM app

The FVM app was featured in a front-page and Sunday centerpiece of The Columbian recently, a story which covered many of the basics of the project and illustrates why we are so excited about the potential of the work. In short, we are the first group in the country working with the National Park Service on the creation of interpretive mobile apps, rather than wayfinding or expositional apps. We are creating all of our own media, doing all of our own coding, making new app designs, sharing our workshop with the public (through this blog), and learning and having a lot of fun along the way. If you would like to know more, or to help us beta test in the coming months, as we prepare for the public launch in June, please contact me at fortvancouvermobile(AT)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Template for the National Park Service

During our recent discussions with John Tobiason, New and Social Media coordinator for the National Park Service, we talked about developing a consistent look across the agency's apps, based on the National Mall and Memorial Parks app, already being used as a way-finding tool in Washington, D.C.

Some examples of this look include:

The button

The toolbox screen

And the menu bars screen:

Even though our niche is interpretation, rather than way-finding or expositional information sharing, the National Mall app has a solid structure upon which to base the architecture of the Fort Vancouver Mobile app. So during our upcoming redesign for the 1.0 public release of Fort Vancouver Mobile, we will be working closely with John and the National Park Service to meet basic design and accessibility standards.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

John Tobiason visit

John Tobiason, New and Social Media coordinator for the National Park Service, graciously visited Vancouver for several days over the holiday break to work with us on the Fort Vancouver Mobile project. He met with the FVM research and development team as well as the local National Park Service staff at Fort Vancouver, plus local media members. John did a demo of both the Android and iPhone versions of the Fort Vancouver Mobile app. We talked at length (with Chief Ranger Greg Shine) about a variety of ways we could work together within the National Park Service system, to provide the agency with a model for investigating the potential of interpretive storytelling through mobile devices. We received John's many helpful suggestions and insights about the app -- as well as about the broader app world on a national level (thanks again, John!). John even had the opportunity to raise the Union Jack over the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site one morning (Fort Vancouver was a British trading post). Much more to say about this visit, but I will do that in increments as more of the ideas are developed further in the next few months. Overall, though, we are very excited to see how this partnership with the National Park Service can continue to grow.