The last week has been very exciting as I've met with Sean a couple of times and we've been working on the final 'tweaks' to the Gatherer app ready for submission to apple any moment now. Gatherer integrates twitter and email to send colour grids and text responses, whilst simultaneously posting to the online Gatherer Gallery.
Having been very immersed in the design of the app as the core part of the Hunter Gatherer geoartcache project, it was wonderful to lift my head up and look out above it all yesterday thinking about the 'strategic overview' - how I want to promote the app on the app store. Given that some people may come across Gatherer app through other sources, or by chance, without knowledge of the geoartcache or plans to use it in that way, I have tried to capture the essence of the ideas (and research) behind it - a playful tool for paying attention, noticing what you notice, that can be adapted to many different situations in reflective use.
My aim for the project was to develop a custom-built app for Hunter Gatherer that could also be used in other areas of my research and practice. Of course all that had gone by the wayside during the intense focused period of pulling HG together. So it was very nice to sit up and think about how else it might be used; to write with that in mind. I have plans simmering away already, and another potential musical collaboration or two on the horizon for sister-songs of other magical creatures emerging over the summer. Ssshh!! No more on that for now....
Yesterday was the first serious user testing of the finished app - which I video recorded for reference later when it will be hard to remember how people first responded to the app.
So far so good - watching how people navigate around the interface (as experienced iphone users or completely new to smart phones) and where they look whilst making the grid - what they reference or draw inspiration from - are equally informative.
The app needs to be simple to use so that doesn't get in the way of the direct experience of the place and making of the response. Equally it needs enough information for people to find out what to do and ensure we get the responses sent to the website/email address so that the Magical Creature can hear/see them too!
We've also been talking about the structure for the Gatherer3 website, how that will work and what media I need to make before it goes live. How the cache keys will function (unique 5 digit codes found in each cache that change when the Magical Creature is in residence nearby!), etc. We registered the url a couple of weeks ago, and it will be hosted on the Cuttlefish servers (rather than with my website host) so that we can utilise other Cuttlefish services easily.
I've found a free text-to-email service, so I'll be able to offer the text-in-response facility that I had hoped for. Text-to-email is preferable than text-to-phone as it means I can receive the emails from anywhere in the world without extra cost, and they'll fit into a similar process with the other data coming in from the app.
I generated all the QR codes were a couple of weeks ago via a free online service. Each relates to a specific cache key and will provide the content page for that 'piece of the puzzle'. QR codes could be used for sending texts, emails, embedding gps coordinates.. all sorts of interaction. Plenty to explore in a future project perhaps... For Hunter Gatherer they will serve as a link to the cache key web page.
France-Leigh at Chrysalis Arts has been working on the project branding and guidelines to go in the cache boxes. The stickers may not be ready in time for my first caches, so laminates and super glue could come in handy in the interim!
Remaining hardware required... find some cheap plastic pencil sharpeners and the right size lunch boxes for a few hungry creatures ...(!)