custom content versus one-size-fits-all
Among the many comments and questions, criticisms and suggestions received at the recent conference exhibit, the most striking were those occurring in complete opposition to others. An example is one user’s suggestion that more instructional notecards would be useful, where another user had observed just the day before that there were too many notecards.
Other conflicting comments (not just from the conference) have included that the activity should—and should not—address flight, media, and communicating via IM/chat.
There is also a fine line between providing sufficient directions and totally overwhelming the user with a tedious series of walk-and-stop-to-read, walk-and-read, walk-and-stop-to-read stations. Assembling a demo version of the activity for the conference provided an opportunity to experiment with this issue. Several modules were chosen for the event due to their level of completion. They happened to all have notecard or floating text giving instruction, primarily; so, a quick fix was needed to balance the forms of delivery.
A couple of new info-graphics were created just for the demo; this helped to spread instructional information across the various modes (notecards, public chat, dialog prompts and floating text, as well as infographics).
These two issues (different needs of end-users, varying the form of instructional text delivery) point to a challenge in trying to create a single tool that meets the needs of a large number of use cases. This was never part of the plan with the BSG prototype. Rather, a demonstration of the concept was pursued with a range of user interface features being addressed. The entire system is presented in a modular system that can be deployed in a variety of configurations and with any number of thematic “skins” applied.
Any out-of-the-box design would have to be compromised in too many ways for this user to find it useful. As an open source project, we are already employing many least common denominators…across the build.
I would be interested in reading your comments on this.