portrait

The Learning Systems Design and Development Competencies (Artifact Description):


Flash Authoring

Main Artifact (Click on the link below):

123 Count With Me


Supporting materials for the 123 Count With Me Interactive Digital Counting Book (Click on the links below to download):

Design Plan and Storyboard

Evaluation Report


Artifact Description:

This was an individual project and the final one in the Flash Authoring Class. The goal was to create an interactive animation movie that would teach some concept, advertise a product, promote some service, demonstrate a skill, etc. It had to contain many basic elements that would demonstrate the skills learned in earlier modules, such as; motion tween animation, shape tween animation, input text, advanced interaction controlled by Action Script coding, appropriate and easily useable navigation and interaction design, audio, authoring design, error prevention and feedback, etc.


I chose to create an interactive digital counting book for pre-school children. This gave me an opportunity to combine both the new skills I was learning in the program with the skills I have developed in my current career. In addition to working as a Designer and Illustrator in social expression product development, I also worked as an Art Director for a children’s book publisher. I relished the opportunity to jump from the static world of print to the exciting world of interactivity.


The first step of the process was developing a design plan and storyboard. This set the stage for the animation. The purpose and target audience were defined. Possible user interactions, limitations of the project and resources were identified. And finally, a schedule of production was created to guide the development of the animation. Through the storyboard I planned more details, such as the look and feel of the project, as well as where specific interactions fit into the digital book. The navigation was also mapped out.


Once the first draft of the project was completed the testing phase began. We started with peer evaluations from our classmates. The feedback from those tests led to improvements, which were implemented before usability testing. At the time I had limited physical access to users in the age group of my target audience. But, I didn’t let that hinder me from obtaining a range of input. I did perform two onsite tests with users. It was very interesting to observe their interactions and question the parents afterward. To widen my range, I sent out questionnaires and a link to the site that housed my animation to a few friends and family in other States. Even though I wasn’t there to observe, their input proved valuable because it enlarged the diversity of users.


Based on the results of both the peer evaluations and usability testing I learned what changes could be made to improve the users experience. I also learned how to evaluate the feedback in consideration of which changes would make the most impact to the most users. The feedback also revealed my limitations and learning opportunities. There were some changes I could not make because of my basic skills in Flash and the need for further experience with the software. But overall I was able to create an animation that worked for my target audience and look forward to time in the future to build on the skills I gained in the course.


Included in the artifact links above is a link to view the animation in a separate window from my portfolio. Also, included are links to the supporting materials: my design plan and storyboard and my evaluation report.


Reflection:

It was interesting to see how the focus in development just as in design was still mainly the learner. Considering content is important. Some content lends itself to certain delivery methods and not others. But the user is still an integral part of the decision making in the choice and in the development. And then again once the application is built to test its usability and success in enabling the user to reach the learning goal. This class began the process of defining my focus.


Interestingly, I began to surmise that the focus in designing and developing learning is not that different than the focus I use in designing and developing printed products in my current job. In instructional design the focus is the user. In my current job, my focus is the retail buyer I am presenting my product to and the end customer who will be purchasing it in their stores. In both cases, the designer (whether visual or instructional) has the challenge of not get getting caught up in the product, content or technology, or be influenced by personal tastes and biases. Instead, both have to keep a focus on the end user, learner or customer.



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