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Key points to remember from Lesson 5

Think about the following while developing your own ideas


Below is a summary of the key points you should take away from Module 5 Lesson 1 ‘The
Changing Nature of Creative Technologies’.

 The term ‘creative technologies’ generally refers to the use of technology in the
production of creative work. It entails a particular focus on adapting and working with
cutting edge technologies; combining creative work with technical development.

 Increasingly, the makers of technology are defining how it can be used creatively.
Think of YouTube for example.

 However you can determine new creative directions by combining - or converging -


the use of different technologies together to form many aspects of a larger experience.
Websites and digital devices such as smartphones or tablets work on this principle.

 You may also work with people who develop technologies to alter or come up with
new ways in which they may be used. Think of app development for example, where new
functions may be programmed into an app without having to change the platform on which
it runs. Storytellers who team up with programmers, animators, engineers, etc. can pool
their knowledge to discover new creative possibilities that might not be uncovered without
this collaboration.

 A key challenge in creative technologies is managing the relationship between


creative intentions and their realisation. This requires a solid understanding of what is
possible and also good strategies for communicating and managing expectations.

 This is where an experience designer can be a valuable member of a transmedia


creative team. They have skills that enable them to design solutions, which take into
account an overarching view of the transmedia story, audience experience and
technology.

 Traditional passive audiences have evolved into ‘prosumers’ through the use of
digital technologies such as social media and self-publishing websites like blogs and
YouTube.

 This type of audience are not just consumers of content, but are instead actively
involved in shaping the stages of creation, production and distribution using a range of
accessible technologies.

 The role of contemporary and emerging digital technologies in storytelling mean


that software developers and interaction designers are becoming increasingly needed not
just behind the scenes, but at the forefront of creative production.

 Your decision about what technology you decide to use to tell your story should be
informed by an understanding of the requirements of the storyworld, the requirements of
the audience, the types of desired experiences, and the possibilities and limitations of the
technology.
 It pays therefore to involve people with technical knowledge and skills in all stages
of development of your transmedia storytelling strategy.

Now it's time to move on to the next lesson to learn about the importance of
understanding the potential and limitations of different technologies...

Think about the following while developing your own ideas


Below is a summary of the key points you should take away from Module 5 Lesson 2 ‘An
Interaction Design Approach to Creative Technologies’.

 Understanding the affordances of different technologies is crucial in determining


how best they can be used (or whether they should be used at all) within your transmedia
storytelling strategy.

 Affordance is a term that refers to the inherent qualities within an object or artefact
that suggest how it can be used. For example the shape of a button suggests it can be
pushed, the form of a door handle suggests that it can be grabbed, pulled, pushed and
perhaps turned.

 Constraints refers to what the technology is not able to do, or at least do well. The
current technology of VR headsets for example constrains the way that a person can
move around inside a virtual environment. Because the refresh rate of the VR image still
lags slightly, people can suffer from motion sickness if they try to move smoothly from
place to place. They often have to ‘jump’ to different locations instantly to avoid this
outcome.

 Every technology has its own affordances and constraints. When considering using
technologies to tell your story, look at existing examples to see how they are already being
used. Social media such as Twitter for example affords rapid sharing of bite sized pieces
of information amongst a global audience, but is limited in terms of the length of the
message.

 Constraints can be physical, logical or cultural. This means that a technology may
not be able to perform a task because of the parameters of its design, but factors such as
unintuitive interfaces, or limitations on what is considered acceptable use of the
technology may also prevent people from using technology in ways you might expect (or
may cause them to use it in ways you did not expect). Undertaking research on your
target audience can help give you insight to such issues.

 When choosing technologies to tell your story, take time to understand the
affordances, as well as the physical, logical, and cultural constraints associated with them
- as you will have to design the format of your story and the types of audience
experiences to suit.

Now it's time to move on to the next lesson to learn how using technology in
different contexts can affect the audience experience...
Think about the following while developing your own ideas
Below is a summary of the key points you should take away from Module 5 Lesson 3
‘Experiencing Creative Technologies in Context’.

 How technologies are experienced can change according to the context in which
they are used. In Module 4 we discussed that an audience member’s experience can
change depending upon their location and who they are with at the time. It is important to
think about your audience members’ experience being at the centre of any technology
choice.

 The contexts that may affect how an audience experiences a technology include
variances in individual perceptual, spatial, and social situations.

 As always, understanding the demographics and needs of your audience will


greatly simplify your decisions about how technology is integrated within your transmedia
storyworld.

 Perceptual context refers to how individuals perceive the technology. Different


audience members may have different levels of exposure to a technology, or differing
levels of expertise using it. They may have bias towards using a certain technology - for
example think of the social divide between Apple and PC users. An interface may be seen
as too complex, or too easy, both of which can limit how someone interacts with the
technology.

 Spatial contexts can vary according to where someone uses the technology, and
what type of space the technology is designed for. For example, experiencing a movie in a
cinema can be very different to watching the same movie on a smartphone. The choice of
technology should be informed by the spatial context of the experience you wish your
audience to have.

 Social context is closely related to spatial context. Do you wish your audience to
experience your story by themselves, or in a group? Do they experience it privately (such
as listening to music with headphones), or in public (such as engaging in a location based
‘treasure hunt’)?
 Edward Hall’s proxemics classify experience into four zones of interaction.

 The intimate zone (less than 1.5 feet) could utilise technologies such as
headphones, VR headsets, smartphones, etc.

 The personal zone (1.5 to 4 feet) could use technologies such as personal
computers, interactive screens, motion sensors, books or posters, etc.

 The social zone (4 to 12 feet) could use technologies such as a television, radio,
etc.

 The public zone (12 to 25 feet) could involve public installations, spatial sensors, a
cinema screen, projections, performances, etc.

 Social media could also be seen as a hybrid between social and public zones.

 Media can be experienced in these different zones, and their affordances in these
different contexts can shape the types of work that is produced for them. They can also
recreate these zones through transforming our experience. You should also be aware of
how shared experiences help shape social groups.

Now it's time to move on to the final lesson to learn explore the implications that new
and emerging technologies can have for transmedia storytelling...

Think about the following while developing your own ideas


Below is a summary of the key points you should take away from Module 5 Lesson 4
‘Managing Emerging Technologies: Unknowns and Radical Transformation’.

 Transmedia storytellers are very often interested in working with the latest
technologies. Perhaps because they are interested in telling stories in new and exciting
ways, or because clients want to create content for new technology platforms.

 Working with very new technologies can create significant challenges, such as
overestimating their capabilities, or the challenge of slow rates of adoption.

 Often when a new technology emerges, great expectations follow. However,


because of inflated expectations and the fact technologies and development processes
are not refined, people can become easily disillusioned when the technology does not
immediately meet expectations. This phenomenon is referred to as the Gartner ‘hype
cycle’.

 If choosing to work with new technologies, you should always be careful to evaluate
their usability by considering not only their promised potential, but also many pragmatic
factors such as computing speeds, the willingness of users to engage, legal limitations,
and distribution and communication networks.

 Very new technologies also usually have a relatively small user base. Meaning few
people will have access to, or know how to use it initially.
 Despite being wary of potential issues surrounding emerging technologies however,
they offer exciting potential to explore new methods of storytelling, which make them
attractive to transmedia designers and producers.

 Emerging technologies pass through experimental phases before entering the


mainstream. Some don’t make it, and many pass through a phase of over expectation and
disappointment, before finding a balance and maturing.

 Don’t be afraid to explore the potential of new technologies, but always be mindful
of the implications as well as the possibilities.

We hope that this course has given you a working understanding of the key elements of
transmedia storytelling. We hope that you have also improved your understanding by
developing and testing your own transmedia storytelling strategy by taking part in the
assignments of this course.