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Prototyping Weeknotes #76

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Chris Godbert | 14:07 UK time, Monday, 12 September 2011

We moved offices this week and aside from the inevitable last minute niggles with networks and phones it all went refreshingly smoothly. We're in the same building but on a different floor where we have more space and a distinctively 70s feel; something akin to an episode of The Sweeney but with less shouting.

In the midst of the chaos, lots of the team have been preparing for the FI-Content lab study we have planned for next week. We have some members of the public coming in to evaluate some ideas about the way that media might be consumed and shared between devices and people in the future. Vicky, Pete, Jo and Barbara have been busy preparing paper prototypes & storyboards to show the participants and to aid the discussions.

Olivier's week started with a chat with Mo and Duncan (Rowden) from R&D on the topic of content protection in HTML5. It is a complex issue, and we wanted to bring accessibility and interoperability concerns to the recent, extensive discussion going on in the W3C web and TV interest group (in which we are active participants).

Pete spent the first half of the week spent sprinkling some magic dust on a presentation for the R&D board and then did the same with a poster for the NEM Summit where we will be showing some early outputs from the FI-Content project. Yves has been working on disambiguating tags automatically applied to World Service audio. He has been meeting with other BBC R&D people interested in speech recognition and automatic tagging of audio content. Also, he got hold of a dump of the Pronunciation Unit database, which holds about 80 years worth of places, people and topics with associated pronunciations, which should help to improve the automatic audio tagging.

With one teammate busy, one unwell and another on leave, the news linking prototype project has been running at reduced velocity this week. Still, it didn't stop Duncan making progress scraping our correspondents' Twitter feeds for interesting links, and Olivier gathering feedback on the current state of the prototype through tests and discussions with Jon and Clare from News. Interesting finding of the week: even in this digital age, news sources tend to publish their opinion pieces online between midnight and 6 in the morning.

There has been lots of activity on the News Companion / Follow project. Theo and Stuart have been working out the user scenarios which break down into; where you find news (behaviour and sources), what interests you (what you want to keep up to date on) and what kind of news is worth following, how you want to manage your exposure to the news. Hopefully the types of tools you might use to satisfy your needs. Kat and Theo met with Kai and Ulrik, who are looking at web actions on bbc.co.uk, and trying to standardise some of the buttons. They're looking at how a favourite on the recipes site, say, might be the same as "bookmark this page" or "save for later" elsewhere, and we're hoping our work on what it means to "follow" is feeding into this work. The next step is to book some users for a user experience testing session in a couple of weeks.

The RadioTAG trial is now underway. Kat has been troubleshooting a few queries, but otherwise it's looking very promising - almost everyone has registered their radio and have been adding some very interesting feedback to the dedicated blog. We also met with the company undertaking the research to discuss next tasks and what we could explore during next week's ethnographic studies and the final sessions. Kat also attended an update on progress with the BBC's first live RadioVIS service, which will replace the test service we've had running since February. Hopefully more on that soon.

In other news. Liz, a Research Scientist, joined us this week on a placement for 4 months and Theo blogged about the development of Programme List. Finally, George had a 21:00 conference call on Thursday night which threw up this gem of a diagram - if that doesn't clarify things then I don't know what will.

Interesting links

  • Mo has written a series of posts on his thoughts about identity, here's one of them.
  • TV is the Second Screen This argues TV is the second screen and the secondary activity and that all media industries should look outside themselves
  • Another story timeline scribble, this time from Duncan Jones, director of the film Source Code.
  • From Technologist to philosopher suggests that the humanities is just an important as the sciences in today's world of technology.
  • Mozilla's Paul Rouget visiting Taiwan, and musing about why people there prefer their (mobile) browser and web sites than native mobile apps. A refreshing counterpoint to the trends in Europe and America.


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