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Prototyping Weeknotes #16 (28/05/10)

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Tristan Ferne | 15:13 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

This week in brief - iPads and design sketches, bug-fixing and copywriting, questions and journeys, and a few very long meetings.

We’ve said we’ll try to do two large projects at a time, plus a longer-running on in the background, P2PNext. This week we’ve had 3 (+1) ongoing projects in various stages of exploration, development and wrap-up.

The Digital Programme Guide project has turned out to need more up-front design thinking than we thought. We spent last week in scoping - which we probably should have done earlier. This week Vicky and Theo have been working on this almost exclusively; reviewing existing iPad research, working up user scenarios, prioritising the features and exploring design directions on paper and on whiteboards while Chris B has set up the server, the back-end and the metadata framework. They’re now wireframing and trying out layouts on the device - right at the end of the week Chris got a very simple programme listing layout on an iPad - good progress. This does mean we haven’t been able to plan much more around the engineering side but we’ll review this next week and I think we’ll be able to get on to some iterative prototyping.

The Digital Friendship project is ticking along nicely and generating a lot of questions as we go. We’re parking these questions and trying hard to stick to our initial scope, we’re still on track for a basic end-to-end prototype in a few weeks. Chris N has a barebones social website deployed with basic signup and login. Duncan has nearly completed the desktop application and has refactored the Arduino code to work with it. Akua is exploring some of the motivations for people to use the device and what future features and forms might work. Come Thursday and I’m drawing the flow through the Digital Friendship story. It represents everything that happens in the system but is pretty complex and long-winded so we’ll need to work hard to find ways to tell it to children. Later we chat through the idea with some colleagues from the BBC Children’s department, they’re broadly supportive but have some very real, though helpful, reservations.

And we’ve still got a little bit to do on Inbound Links though Sean and Chris N have wrapped most of it up this week; it’s now fully integrated with our microblogging ingest chain, most bugs fixed, some initial load testing and load balancing done and a few bits of data clean-up. Theo’s finishing off the copy and George has started to share it with a few people internally to general acclaim. We hope to release it soon. On P2PNext Sam is preparing for the next meeting and Duncan’s live quiz app is done and being demonstrated and documented as I write.

Finally in the miscellaneous yet interesting bucket… Chris B’s Google Translate prototype is working and automatically creating multi-lingual subtitles for iPlayer programmes. And Chris N is investigating how to develop for Nokia N900 phones.


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