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, March 27, 2012

CCCCs, Research Network Forum

As we continue to spread the word about the Fort Vancouver Mobile project around the country, I (Brett) was in St. Louis, Mo., last week, giving a presentation on aspects of this project at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. This conference, which attracts about 3,000 people, also offered a Research Network Forum, in which I was able to serve as discussion leader for two sessions, while also talking about the FVM project in depth to a variety of interested parties informally as well. In short, the trip was a great success, and many more people learned about the project, including some of you who might be reading this now. For those newcomers, welcome, and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Next round of FVM app slides

Lead designer Marsha Matta has created the next round of slides to consider for the launch of the FVM app in June. ... Here are the images, with issues for discussions raised below.


We have been using typography embedded on images, which looks fine, but that approach does not allow for ADA accessibility, because the web page readers cannot determine what on the image is text and what is not. So our plan is to place the text separately on the images, through HTML, which the readers can pick up. Yet that creates a new problem, of which font to use. Here is a list of all of the universal fonts that most machines can translate directly. None of them are particularly attractive. In earlier versions, we have tested a variety of sans-serif fonts (because those are easier to read at smaller sizes), including Tahoma, Arial and Trebuchet. Here is a look at Helvetica and Georgia (a serifed font):

Of all of the versions we have seen (thanks for your patience, Marsha!), I think Helvetica looks like the best fit. Anyone disagree? Comments? ...

Launcher icon:

We continue to refine the launcher icon ideas, going from the bastion and outside views, to the more metaphoric idea of the palisade and gate as a portal through which visitors will walk.

I'm thinking that the launcher icon should lead to the opening screen, which are developing below. ... I have mixed feelings about the open gate versus the closed gate. I like the idea of an open gate as welcoming, but I also like the closed gate image as something that needs to be opened and stepped through, so that's the place in which I lean at this moment. Thoughts?

Opening screens:

Although we only show a static image below, these opening screens actually are quick animations of the gate swinging open, with other details in movement as well. I really like the textures and colors that Marsha has developed in these images over time. What do you think of them?

Kanaka module:

New images developing the look of the Kanaka module

Kane module:

Alternative opening screens for the Kane module

New Twitter-like screen alternatives:

Again, a typography question ...

And one other integral screen under development, to show prompts:

Comments on any of these are encouraged and appreciated. Just post below.

Friday, March 23, 2012

XID plant identification app on the market

FVM content partner Dr. Richard Old recently released his independent plant identification app XID (Expert Identification System) in Google Play (formerly known as Android Market; have to say, by the way, that I like the Android Market name better). ... Anyway, our goal in working together is to eventually bring a Fort Vancouver version of this system to the site, maybe integrated into a gaming format, that helps visitors to learn of the flora in the region in fun and engaging ways. Richard is off to a great start with XID. Congratulations!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More draft screen shots

More draft screen shots by Marsha Matta:

These three are part of animations, splitting the initial experience into two main paths (one for people at the site and one for people away from the site; for those away from the site, the gates don't open, so those users see that they cannot reach the geolocated media gold, but they still can use the menu buttons to reach off-site material, or the haversack; we are calling this section of the app the FVM geo-fork):

The Tobiason turntable is reached through the "paths" button, in which swiping screens lead to different modules, one of which is the Kanaka (or native Hawaiian) module. Here is the opening path screen, the Kanaka turntable screen and a mock Kanaka search screen (showing users how to reach the next point of geo-gold):

Marsha also sent over these suggested tool bars for the bottom section of the app:

Comments, feedback, ideas, criticisms? What do you think of these?

Next iteration of the launcher icon ...

We like the way the Fort Vancouver palisade and gate could symbolically open up the app to visitors, so lead multimedia designer Marsha Matta has created this array of potential launcher icons. What do you think?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Getting Out the Word in Las Vegas & Washington D.C.

This past week, I (Greg) had the honor of attending and presenting at the 2012 Annual Partnership Convention for the Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL) in Las Vegas.

APPL is a membership-based association of nonprofit organizations operating under formal agreements with government land management agencies, including including the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey, and many state, regional, county, and municipal parks and forests. The mission of APPL is "to foster stewardship and appreciation of public lands and historic sites through effective partnerships."

John Tobiason, the NPS' talented social media specialist at the Harpers Ferry Center, and I presented a session on social media and partnerships. To our excitement, we had overflow attendance, despite our late afternoon time slot, and folks kept us an additional hour and a half with engaging questions and discussion.

Although our presentation focused primarily on best partnership practices via social media tools Twitter and Facebook, I was able to discuss briefly the benefits of agency/university partnerships (as differentiated from agency/cooperating association and non-profit partnerships) and use the Fort Vancouver Mobile Project as a nontraditional model of sustained collaboration benefitting the public good.

From the unsolicited comments and feedback I received from attendees -- including members of the NPS Directorate in Washington D.C. -- the FVM project and partnership is on radar screens and fast becoming a national model for mobile interpretation. The FVM was even recently discussed at the White House, as part of the national Let's Move! initiative. Good times!

--Greg Shine