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Prototyping Weeknotes #63 (10th June 2011)

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Olivier Thereaux | 16:37 UK time, Friday, 10 June 2011

This week has us in a transition phase. A number of projects are wrapping up now or will soon, and others are in the scoping, thinking and understanding phase.

RadioTAG in one of the more mature projects. Sean and Chris L kept working on the specification this week, and now have a working end-to-end implementation, and even got to try a prototype hardware radio with a working TAG button brought in by Robin from Frontier. Joanne, meanwhile, has been building a paper and cardboard prototype for the TAG interactions, - from what happens out of the box when you buy an IP radio to the sign up and pairing of the device with an online Bookmarking application. User testing this prototype should help improve the signposting and interactions between devices and give insight into how people perceive such a device and the terminology surrounding the service.

Watch Later is making a lot of progress, too. Theo is juggling between photoshop, with which he reviewed some of the look and feel based on the working prototype, and HTML/CSS, with some help from Duncan. He notes that working between HTML, CSS and Media Queries (for targeted platform presentation) , Sinatra and JQuery has been really enlightening. It's clear that it's not a sequential process from one stage of development to next, more so that iterative reviews allow you to improve upon what you create as your competency / knowledge deepens.

More will happen on this project next week, as Chris N returns from his trip to Tromsø, Norway. He is officially there for meetings around P2P-next, but we're really using him as a test subjects on the effects of 24-hours daylight on sleep patterns (or lack thereof).

On thursday, our friends from Live|Work came to review with us the results of the user-centered prototyping sessions. While there was some minor frustration at how fast we had to go from listening to expressing needs and prototyping solutions, the process we went through as a team have definitely inspired us to think more about the user experience, rapid creation and testing of ideas. Everyone seemed fired up, and we are hoping to put what we learned to good use on our upcoming prototypes.

Jonathan from News has been spending a lot of time with us this week - not surprising as we are about to start work on up to 4 (some low-fi, some hi-fi) prototypes related to reading, experiencing, following and publishing news. On Wednesday, he gave us a great overview of the publishing to the online BBC News, from its beginning in 1997 to the present day: from flat files to metadata triple stores, from journalists writing HTML to automated term extraction. Let's just say the resulting whiteboard was quite a piece of art! We all left with a lot of new knowledge. In Sean's words: "Never again will I wonder what CPS, MPS, AVDB, Tripod, Pulsar, Plasma, Spice, Graffiti and Zakumi mean."

The application period for the new roles has closed, and I am told we received a really good number of applications. Several of us, such as Vicky or Paul, have started reading the applications. Paul has also spent most of his Friday writing makefiles, which according to him goes to show that nothing really ever changes.

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