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Posted on Fri 21 Jan 2011


Sprinting with Bristol Old Vic

Today is the second day of our sprint to build Bristol Old Vic's The Memory of Theatre iPhone app. The project features stories and recollections of the theatre through time - the idea is that the visitors to the building can…

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Clare Reddington

Clare Reddington

Clare is the CEO of Watershed and a Visiting Professor at University of the West of England.

Today is the second day of our sprint to build Bristol Old Vic's The Memory of Theatre iPhone app. The project features stories and recollections of the theatre through time - the idea is that the visitors to the building can listen to the memories in the exact place they took place. 

With Christmas shows and the plans to shut the building in Feb for a major capital re-development, Bristol Old Vic had been finding it difficult to allocate enough time to move the project on. We decided a two day sprint, where we all blocked out our diaries and based ourselves in the building, would move us forward quickly and keep our time commitments to it manageable. The idea is to create two working demos (one using QR codes and one using Ubisense) by the end of today, that Old Vic staff can test. It can then be fine-tuned and made to look pretty over the next few weeks.

We knew before we started that the prototype would be situated in Coopers Hall and would allow audiences to download an application, wander the Hall and discover and listen to people’s memories in the place that a) the memory has been recorded and b) the memory actually took place.

The User journey:

  • User downloads app
  • User plays app in building. They will need headphones.
  • There is an introductory audio piece explaining ‘the rules’ and encouraging them to wander around and find the memories
  • There is a soundscape (of coopers hall atmosphere – perhaps historical) which plays continuously as they wander
  • The memory begins with a description of where the memory is taking place to anchor the content and encourage users to check they are in the right place
  • They can finish the experience at any time
  • They will be played a piece of closing audio about the future of the project

 

The questions we don't know the answers to are:

  • Is there something on screen which indicates how many memories are currently available and how many they have so far found?
  • How tight can we get the hotspot triggers for the Ubisense version?
  • Can people terminate a memory or see how far through it they are? Does the memory stop or fade out of people leave the hotspot?

We have eight memories (so far) to work with, many of which are were recorded in the theatre itself. As there isn't access to the auditorium all the time, we are transposing these memories into the Coopers Hall area of the building. On arrival yesterday we listed all the tasks that needed doing and who would lead on them, and got down to business.Most importantly was fixing and recalibrating the indoor positining system.

By the end of the first day we have:

  • a working experience which uses the Ubisense technology to automatically trigger memories but doesn't have proper screens/buttons 
  •  a working experience which uses QR and pretty much has all the text in place (see screen shots)

Yesterday was my first opportunity to use Calvium's PIRL system and it was great - really easy to use. Design wise its a bit frustrating in its current release (the interface is constantly being upgraded) but it is really intuitive. And we actually made a working app in a day.