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posted Jul 17, 2009, 6:37 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 17, 2009, 6:38 AM by Eddie Woo ]

Gantt chart updated (+ end...)

posted Jul 16, 2009, 9:16 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 17, 2009, 6:53 AM by Eddie Woo ]

I got around to actually updating my Gantt Chart according to the planned timeline in a previous post, although that was very optimistic compared to what actually happened.
The text & numerical data already on the website was of a promotional nature, so I used that as part of my multimedia assignment & this was not included in my updated. Hypertext was used for a lot of navigational purposes, so taht was not included either. Images of (& other information about) the Japan trip & French excursion had their own planned times in the original Gantt chart, so the images for the multimedia assignment only refer to others collected off the Internet.
So the only updates are for the audio & video. At the time, I thought that there were only 10 weeks in the term, but now I know that there were 11, I added a bit more of time for that. The stages originally planned to be finished at the end of the project (which, at the time, was July 10th) have also been changed to July 17th.
Blair reminded me that we also had part of the science faculty site to take care of, so I checked on it, but there did not seem to be much to be added onto the site. If I had the powerpoints, they might have been a good addition to the site, although they might also be too big to upload even if I had them.
& an unrelated end note:
I didn't want to add a new post (because then I'd have to update my project repository), but I feel like commenting on how strange it feels to...well, not have to do any more work on it as a project. Especially when it's still so incomplete. Looking back, it was actually (surprisingly) quite fun. & it'll be stranger to think that I might miss doing this.
I originally planned to go over the points for improvement that Amy had pointed out in her critique, but unfortunately, I don't have enough time for that. So maybe the next aD team can consider that as well =]
& I guess that's that done.


posted Jul 16, 2009, 7:24 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 17, 2009, 12:28 AM by Eddie Woo ]

Write a constructive critique on a peer's multimedia system, assessing it & assigning an appropriate mark based on how competently it achieves the two stated purposes.
Portfolio: Junior HSIE
As Amy has chosen for her multimedia system to be a fieldwork excursion coverage (with elements of learning resource), this would include her year 10 coastal management excursion files...
Informatively communicates relevant information in a manner appropriate to its genre
The multimedia presentation was very informative (without being unnecessarily long), & covers the most important activities we went through during the day. The details & instructions were clear (clinometer could have used more of an explanation, though), & the photographs cover a lot of the interesting points of the beach. Videos also cover student opinions of the excursion, & those are useful in showing students have learnt from the excursion.
Even though the fieldwork was meant to be a practical experience of geography, which can only be done by actually going on the excursion, the way the information was presented was a good quite effective at explaining the processes without needing to do any fieldwork. Its separation from the rest of the site is good for students who just want to look through the presentation without having to go through everything else on the portfolio.
The explanation on the use of the clinometer could have been a little more detailed, as it is an instrument that students may not be familiar with, & its image does not seem to be very explanatory. The way the compass used was also slightly different to how 'everyday' compasses are used, so some instructions for that might have been good as well. Some of the other used terms (e.g. swash, berm) could have been explained. Also, even though the presentation was meant to be excursion coverage, it may have helped to include some of the relevant theoretical information.
Creatively & professionally showcases the unique strengths of a variety of media types
Text is used for instructions (for using the presentation) & details about the field trip. It is also used to label information presented in other media, such as the images of the anemometer & clinometer, & the diagram of the dunal system. The text component of the hyperlinks tell the user what each page contains. The choice of this medium to display the information is effective because it is simple, easy to understand, & readers can review the information at their own pace.
Subtitles in the video were also good as the user can find out what the question is even if they cannot hear the audio properly, but then the answers probably could have been subtitled as well (although it might have been a long process). Alternatively, the key words could have been listed beside the interviewee.
Numerical data were used for presenting data such as: date, who (year 10), cost, & the various quantitative results collected by the various instruments used (wind speed & direction, angle & size of slope). As numbers give some value that people can interpret accurately, it is probably the fastest medium for people to absorb for this sort of data.
Hypertext was mainly used for navigation, but also linked other relevant pages (e.g. the anemometer linked to the videos page. It may have been better if it linked directly to the video, but I am not sure if that could have been done).
If definitions were added for certain words (as mentioned above), in order to save space, they may have been added so that words could be hovered over or clicked to show the information in a separate space
Images were used to show the anemometer, clinometer, dunal system, & also was used in the photo gallery. It was also a good idea to organise the tabulated numerical data into image data to be put into Flash. The small image (that can be hovered over to show a larger image) in the corner allowed people to view a sufficiently large image without having to sacrifice space on the screen. The photo gallery was probably the best way to show the beach to the users, as it is visual. Although this could also be shown on video (& it was), without a tripod, people do not get as good a view because the video shakes.
A wider view of the beach in one picture might have been an option (photo-stitching - idea from Blair after viewing his virtual tour of Cameron Block), although there probably was not enough time to take enough pictures for a good photo-stitch. Maybe the use of the clinometer could have been elaborated on with images. Also, a diagram was given for the dunal system, but it may be hard for people to equate that with the real dunal system (or at least not the ones at Long Reef & Collaroy), so labelled photographs might help clarify things. The compass was also mentioned, & maybe a picture of that can be added (because wind speed & direction were both being measured).
The photo gallery contained some rather similar photos (which may have shown different parts, but the users cannot tell), & without anything to clarify what the photos were meant to show, it could be interpreted as just general photos taken on the excursion. This would mean that, to the users, data would have been unnecessarily replicated. Another problem is that it can be slow to go through photos, as the photos slowly extend, slowly shrink
Narration was a good idea, providing an alternative to the text version of the same data. They were also used for some interviews. Although there are issues with it being audio only & not being able to see the person's body language (from a conversation this morning with Blair that touched on issues regarding speed & sincerity), this is not much of a problem as the interviews recorded with audio only had informative purposes. Personally, the actual 'opinion' section of that part was less important, & so body language is not all that necessary. However, not having something for the users to focus on while listening to the audio may cause them to lose interest.
Audio does not allow for users to review the information at their own speed. With the Flash presentation used, this is more of a problem as there are no options for pausing, fast forwarding, rewinding & such. Perhaps a transcript of the audio would have solved this problem.
Video (optional)
It was a good idea to use the video to show how to use the equipment (the anemometer). Some student interviews were also recorded on video. This was an effective way to keep the user interested in the video as there is something to watch as well as the audio. The body language of the interviewees can also come through, & it also makes the pauses less awkward than in a pure audio file.
The video with the anemometer could have been improved if the compass was also included, so that it showed the whole process of measuring wind speed & direction. A video made for the clinometer would probably be more useful though, because there is no clear explanation on its use, & the instrument is a lot less self-explanatory than the anemometer.
A video of the beach was also done, but it was quite shaky. It also did not move about significantly except for zooming in at the end, so maybe the photographs in the gallery would have been sufficient for the purpose. An improvement could have been to 'show' the user around the beach, although there may have been issues with getting other people on the footage & having to get permission for release off all the people.
Mark: 11/12

Video compression settings

posted Jul 15, 2009, 6:48 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 16, 2009, 6:16 PM by Eddie Woo ]

I decided that the video file was still a bit too big. It was published under the 'Email' setting, which gave a reasonably small file size. So I tried to publish it for playback on the computer. This allowed for the choice of the final file size, which I set to 4MB, 5MB & 6MB (any larger & it was not worth it, as the first setting gave 5.75MB; any smaller & the playback area would be quartered, & it was small enough as it was). These gave the file sizes of 2.47MB, 3.01MB & 3.47MB.
It seemed that the only difference between the three were the bit rates, but the difference was not that noticeable, so the larger two will be discounted. (There were also differences between data rate & total bit rate [under the 'Video' division in the 'Details' tab in Properties. Both had the same number for all four videos].)
When I checked Properties, the frame rate of the video file I first made (with the 'Email' settings) was shown to be 25 frames per second, & the audio bit rate was 128kb. The smallest of the other three files was shown to be 12 frames per second & had an audio bit rate of 48kb.
Even though the frame rate was greatly reduced, it was only really noticeable at the part with the student writing Japanese characters (the speed of which I doubled, so there is no surprise there). That part was very jerky, but the rest of the video was alright. Even the part where the Japanese class was jumping up & down was not that bad for the file size, which was quite surprising.
Although the original video of almost 6MB was processed quite easily by my computer, I am not sure about other end users. Either way, I decided that this new video was of a reasonable quality for its file size (less than half of the file uploaded earlier!), so I replaced the original one with this instead.
I asked Amy if my video took a long time to download for her, & she said that it was took 4 minutes. I am not sure if the video she watched was the old or the new file (I know she watched the old file, but I am not if she critiqued that or the new one). Either way, if it took that long, then I guess changing the file was a good option.
There was also communication with participants when I found that Amy's videos did not work, but they work now.

More minor edits

posted Jul 15, 2009, 2:52 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 15, 2009, 5:12 PM by Eddie Woo ]

The audio recordings were moved to the _____ Studies @ JR pages, as that page is the one that has most of the subject promotion details. Some other site inconsistencies were fixed. A student also picked up on some errors on the website & they have been fixed.
A minor change was made to the video - the video of browsing German Wikipedia did not turn out very well, so I replaced it with a series of screenshots. The scrolling is a little uneven & after the video was published, I found that there are some screenshots in which there was some 'inconsistency' (e.g. one had a URL on the bottom left-hand corner), but now I cannot seem to find exactly which screenshot it was.
In some earlier post I mentioned not putting in Canada as a French-speaking country, but that is no longer relevant as I cut that part out of the video.
I do not really want my video on Youtube, but it cannot be set to private & still work on the Intranet. Yesterday, I asked Blair how he was going to upload his video, if he chose to, & he said he might just put it as an attachment. For now, I have attached the video onto the LOTE faculty front page.
Previously, I asked Amy if I could use some of the Europe Tour pictures, except when I looked at the student recount yesterday, it seemed as if they did not visit France or Germany, so there was not much I can use.
I also told her that can critique now, as I will not be making any significant edits to the site.

Layout changes & adding pictures

posted Jul 13, 2009, 6:07 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 14, 2009, 8:52 AM by Eddie Woo ]

Minor edits have been made so that the images that were put onto the French and Japanese pages yesterday (snails & Himeji Castle) now link to the excursion & Japan trip pages (it seemed rather unnecessary for those to link to the originals, as links to both appear elsewhere). One more photo was added to the Japan Trip 2009 page (put it next to the short 'recount'). The paragraphing of the text was changed so that things fit in better.
I decided that the German page was too 'out of place' compared to the French & Japanese pages (even though the French page only has pictures of food) because I had no pictures of it, so through the Berlin & Germany pages on Wikipedia, I found this picture (of Berlin). I also found this picture (of the Eiffel Tower) for France. They have been put either on the front page of the LOTE site or the pages for the language. However, I linked them back to the Wikipedia pages for the pictures. The Eiffel Tower picture was resized, & seemed to load better when its source was not the original big picture (of about 5MB).
'Languages' & 'Miscellany' on the front page were originally under two text boxes, except due to some issues with layout I put them into one & moved it to the side. Now the front page looks slightly more consistent with the other pages.
The audio recordings were also uploaded on the languages pages. While it means that it will be more noticeable that German has no interviews, it did not seem like such a good idea to add audio files on the front page of the site.

Slight layout change + information processes

posted Jul 13, 2009, 6:07 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 13, 2009, 7:38 AM by Eddie Woo ]

I think Google Sites changed things so that pictures would have a little bit of white space before & after, so I deleted some of the spaces that I put on the French Excursion page a while ago. I also added one more picture.
I decided that there was too much text (and the page was just too long) for the _______ Studies @ JR pages, so I moved the sections with 'About ______' onto the 'front' pages of each language (which were conveniently very empty). I also added a picture to the French and Japanese pages (from the French Excursion and Japan Trip 2009 pages respectively, except the one on the Japanese page has been cropped). I have not put a picture on the German page yet, but I hope I will find something interesting within the next few days.
As I have only 3 interviews (one Japanese teacher, one Japanese student, one French student - I could not find any year 9 German students), I think I will eventually attach the audio to the front page of the LOTE site.
There are some things with the design of the site that seem like they need a bit of change, but I will work of them when I have finished more of the project.
There is a little bit of inconsistency with the Japan Trip 2009 & French Excursion pages, because the pictures on one have small thumbnails while on the other have medium-sized thumbnails. However, I think I might leave it as is, as It would take too long making new thumbnails for all the images on the Japan Trip 2009 page (and it would also make the page take longer to load and longer to scroll through, because there are so many pictures and the lage is so long). On the French Excursion page, though, there are only 6 pictures, and it would look rather strange if they were all shrunk down. I can always remove that page and incorporate the pictures into the website in some other way, but then the pictures may not have as much meaning when separated and not categorised by being put onto their own page.
I asked another student for their opinion (whether I should remove the French Excursion page or not), & they said that it was fine to leave it.
Maybe I can save a lot of room (but this only solves the problem with the page being long - having larger images would still make the page larger) by removing the headings that say which day it was & which places we visited. However, for now, I do not think it is worth removing the headings just to save room (and it probably will not even save much loading time).
I asked Blair about the information processes involved (collecting, or transmitting & receiving?) when Mr Woo put the files from the old Intranet onto our USBs at the end of last year. Although I thought it would be a separate system, if it was a different system, then should not the process that got the data into the new system be either collecting or transmitting & receiving, since data is introduced into a system in those processes? In that case, would it be transmitting & receiving, because data was moved from one system to another (or between the computer and the storage device)? Or would it be collecting because data was gathered for the current Intranet?
If it was the same system, though, it should be transmitting & receiving, since collecting gathers data for an information system, and in such a case the data would already be in the information system...
He said that he was not sure, but there was storing & retrieving involved...

Multimedia Case Study

posted Jul 10, 2009, 10:00 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 16, 2009, 4:24 AM by Eddie Woo ]

According to Mr Woo, Advertising Campaign and Subject Promotion would overlap in commercial multimedia.
Although I do not see how television broadcasts are multimedia systems, I guess that they are multimedia products that show how the information system that created them used each media type.
Officeworks Advertisements (television broadcast)
Officeworks uses television broadcasts to advertise various discounts available. In its advertisements, information displayed as text is kept to a minimum, used for important details such as the name of the store & product (which are also best displayed as text). Unnecessary or 'unappealing' information is not shown. This is effective as the information is probably the easiest to absorb while in this form, and the information can be more noticeable because people will not have to filter through other less important text. These are all important in getting the main message across to the audience.
Numerical data combined with text data are used for dates to show when the sale will be on. The price of the product, & sometimes the percentage of the discount, is also written in numbers. These are all usually written as numerical data, & this is an effective way to show exactly how cheap a product has become, as people are probably going to be faster to respond to the information in numerical form.
Although this is a video, there are still images in the broadcast that serve more of the purpose of images than animation or video. These have some decorative purposes to make the presentation more appealing to the audience so that they keep watching. However, it is more effective in showing people the product - people like to 'know' what they are buying, and letting them see the product allows them to familiarise themselves with it. Aesthetic appeal may also tempt the people. Purely knowing the name of the product and its price probably will not have quite the same impact. There is also some animation, such as the 'rotation' and the images moving onto the screen, that make the presentation more interesting to watch.
The whole broadcast is a series of images and an accompanying audio recording, so it is a video. The audio component provides basic information & is also used to place emphasis certain pieces of information (the information that is most likely to appeal to the audience) - for example, prices and discounts are announced. This also has another use - when people cannot see the presentation, they can still get the information by listening to the sound.
This website promotes National Tree Day & planting trees. Text includes the details that may appeal to people, and is also used to summarise the content on some of the linked pages. As there are lots of different pages & text data on the site, this is convenient for visitors as they can get an idea of what the page is about even before they get there. It is also used to describe various images that are uploaded on the site - the image is given meaning, & the two combined can get a message across more effectively. There is also a lot of data on the website, so text is suitable as it does not require a very powerful computer to process.
Numerical data are used for dates, as is usually the case. It is also used for the hotline. Other uses include figures (e.g. how many volunteers). These uses are all effecitve ways to use numerical data, as the information of this kind would usually be in numbers, & visitors would be probably be faster to absorb the information in this form.
Hypertext is used extensively, and it is used very effectively for navigation. There is a sidebar with many links - there are lots of relevant information & pages - that allow people to navigate all the links. This allows the text to be categorised & separated so that only a certain amount is needed to be shown on one page. The links are also labelled so that people know where they are going. There are many pages, & so the other pages are also hidden under categories in the navigation. This keeps the length of the sidebar in check & only the pages that are likely to be relevant are shown, & the page is not slowed down by having to load more data than are needed. It is also used on the FAQ page, which contains a list of questions. Users can easily select the question they want answered & get to the answer without having to filter through all the irrelevant information.
Images add visual appeal to the page, & is used to show end users what actually happens - although this can be explained in words, but images can convey the message more effectively. As the images tend to draw attention, it is effective in highlighting important information. It is also used in hypermedia - some images are linked to other pages. Google Maps is also embedded into the website, which is must more effective to display the location information than text - it is faster to see at a glance, & people can see which sites would be more suitable for them (if they did not know the text names of the area, they would have to check things up). There are some photographs in the Gallery that also show people what National Tree Day is like. Some of the How To Guides also have images - the text can be confusing in places, but the images make the instructions more obvious & easier to follow. It also makes the page more appealing & readable, which is important as they are promoting National Tree Day to other people.
Videos were used around the site for various purposes. One of these was an interview with Jamie Durie, which would be more interesting to watch than reading a transcript. Although this could have been an audio, people may easily become distracted as they have nothing visual to focus on. There is also another Lorax video that appeals to children (who are unlikely to be attracted by other media types).
This website advertises the new Harry Potter movie. There is not much text initially except for the title, other relevant details, the small 'Menu' in the corner, & details at the bottom of the page (insignificant compared to the rest of the website). It is generally used when needed, & only sparingly on each page. Everything is succinct, & most of the page is still dominated by the image. The use of text was effective because it was the best way to provide all the data - it is easy for the computer to process, & people can review the information at their own pace. Text was also used as the page names so that people knew what the pages were about.
There is little use of numerical data, although its use in dates was effective because end users can quickly absorb that information.
Hypertext gives users some control over the information they view on the website. There were also many pages on the website (although they were not long), & hypertext allowed all that to be categorised & linked so that people can easily access one page from another related page. Information could be separated so that people only read through the information that they want to read & not have to go through too much useless data in between.
Images provide visual impact throughout the page (all the backgrounds are images, even though they move when the mouse moved). The product being advertised is a movie, so naturally it would be helpful if people could get a feel for the movie to see if they would want to watch it. It would be impractical to load the pages with trailers, so images are the best replacement - people actually see what the movie is probably like, without having to scroll through paragraphs & paragraphs of text (which will not even describe very many aspects of the movie). This is effective as image is the only other type of data that has an impact visually. If the images appeal to the user, then they would realise that the movie probably would as well. It is also used in hypermedia as links to the downloads (posters, etc.) & the larger versions of the images, so that people can select the graphics they want without having to download a full version of each one.
In the background, there is the soundtrack of the movies playing, which draws attention & maintains interest in the site.
When the page is first loaded, there is animation (swirls morph into the words, background & trailer), & there is also animation every time another page is loaded, which makes a smooth transition between the pages & keeps the audience interested. The background also moves with the cursor. All the movement makes the website more interesting.
There also some trailers of the video on the website. Interesting parts of the movie are put into the video, given a reason for people to want to watch the movie (because the trailer looked good). It can influence people's decisions to see it, & it is quite effectively done as it is put where everyone would be able to find & see if (if they chose to). This is important for advertising, & is also an effective use of video data, because no other medium can exactly show people what the movie looks like.

Design Specifications

posted Jul 10, 2009, 9:56 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 16, 2009, 7:17 AM by Eddie Woo ]

An interview with a German student would have been a good addition to the site, except I did not manage to find a German student in time. It would also have been better to interview students from other years (especially the year 11 & 12 students) & the language teachers, & make the whole LOTE site less year-10- (& Japanese-) centred.
Currently, all the promotional audio is done in English, & people are only told about the languages. It would have been interesting to make some short recordings of students speaking in various languages, except I am not sure what the students are capable of saying, & there was not time to find out. An 'audio tour' of Japan was considered - basically, it would be from the point of view of a tourist walking around Japan, & the various things said by them & other people on the streets.
I also considered getting the Japanese class to sing 'Ten Little Indians' in Japanese as well as the German alphabet (I do not think there is copyright attached to those...), except this never got around to happening. I did mention something about recording the 'Ten Little Indians' song at one stage, except no one could remember the lyrics. Even if they could, though, there would have been a problem as I doubt I could have gotten a loud enough recording to cover up the buzzing sounds that would have been recorded by my camera. I could also have asked if the French class had anything interesting that they could say/sing/perform.
Some of the audio turned out to have strange recordings at the start & end, & they could have been either recorded again, or cut & converted back into .MP3 files.
The current video looks very rushed, & it is quite short. There were many parts of the original video plan that were cut due to time constraints (which were a problem because some parts of the video would have been hard to film, & a series of images were considered as their replacement), & so many of the good reasons to do LOTE were left out. It would have been good to make a video with the major points (if not all of them) included, & I could have slowed the pace of the video to make it look less rushed.
Originally, the video was going to have separate sections for each of the languages, but that is no longer the case. If there was more time, then, I could consider making separate 'Why Choose?' videos for each language. I probably could have made another video with student interviews, so that people have something to watch while they listen to the audio (it would probably be harder to lose focus for a video than an audio).
I would have also wanted to get some good videos of the Japan trip (& French excursion, although I doubt any were taken for it), but there were not any (out of the ones I found so far) that were particularly good, so none were uploaded. However, I know that there were people who I did not ask who took videos in Japan.

Edits around the site

posted Jul 10, 2009, 7:49 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 11, 2009, 6:57 PM by Eddie Woo ]

The short 'recount' for the Japan trip was put with the Japan Trip photos. I also added a few more photos, which lead me to discover that some thumbnails are no longer linked to their original images. I could not figure out what happened (I added a few more thumbnails and made the spaces between the pictures smaller, but I did not know how doing those things could affect the links), and I did not know how else to put the links back except with the HTML editor (which would take too long), so I reverted to the previous version where links still worked.
There was also another picture which I just realised had problems with its link, and that was fixed as well.

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