Academic, Conference, Digital Humanities, visualisation

When Academics Don’t Get Interaction Design

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Prototype of city square that creates music when city-goers run around the moving circular "tracks" of a giant turntable and camera tracking turns their arm gestures into music beats per audio track (image by Danish architect at our MAB workshop in 2012, Aarhus).

Actually this is more a plea.

Consider this imagined scenario. You are an academic having coffee with a colleague. They do interaction “design-y” stuff and you ask them what they are working on. When they give you a broad overview of the technology and interaction, you might say”Well, that is all well and good but I need to research practical and useful things.” If they know what your focus (tunnel vision) is on, chances are they will then explain how a modification or redirection of the interaction design they were just describing will allow you and your content to do X. “Oh, that I can use” you might say.

Just hold on a minute here. They described an application, tool or service with more generic potential, and then had to use the creative imagination that you didn’t bother tapping into, to show how it could work for you. After you had poured mild scorn on their research. Seems to me they had the brainpower to

a. come up with a generically useful, hopefully transferable idea, concept, tool..

b. be able to summarize your research

c. understand how this new idea, concept or tool could apply to your context in a way that you could understand, AND

d. not be offended that you still didn’t grasp the exemplar they provided you was only a subset of what they had invented to start with.

I am not sure step d would happen though. And I wouldn’t blame the interaction designer if they didn’t have coffee with you again.

 

 

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Academic

Abstract Components As A Pie Chart

I was reading Your essential ‘how-to’ guide to writing good abstracts

… and then I wondered, would a simple (clumsy) graphic pie chart help make the breakdown of components more memorable? I just used Excel so a proper graphic program would make something a little cuter, but yes I think the principle may have some relevance, then again, is it just because I had to think and retype and categorize the abstract components?

Well, basically every component (Literature research, describing methods etc) is 1/6th of the total, just weigh methods and sources by a factor of 2, as I have or 3, a 1/2, if possible). Simples. Don’t really need a chart for that.Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 11.08.37 pm.png

Information component
Components of a Good Abstract % Number of words (for a 300 word abstract)
Lit.research  1/6 No more than 50-60 words
Distinctive Theory  1/6 At least 50 words
Methods/Data Sources  1/3 From 50 words minimum to 150 maximum
New Facts  1/6 As many words as possible within your limit
Originality  1/6 At least 30 to 50 words
Total 100%
Academic, Digital Humanities, Open Access, publication

Fidus Writer

This is an online writing app that allows you to automatically reference then export into various academic-friendly format. Collaborative editing. Open source as far as I can see.

Fiduswriter

Fidus Writer is an online collaborative editor especially made for academics who need to use citations and/or formulas. The editor focuses on the content rather than the layout, so that with the same text, you can later on publish it in multiple ways: On a website, as a printed book, or as an ebook. In each case, you can choose from a number of layouts that are adequate for the medium of choice.

digital heritage, Journal, virtual heritage, visualisation

Cybermaps in 3D heritage

A journal asked that I respond to a paper that briefly mentions the above. Notes to self include these general questions that I seldom find answers to in virtual heritage papers and not mentioned in my response (the journal has a strict word limit):

  1. Interpretation: It is very hard to extrapolate from VH papers how various interpretations are fostered.
  2. Beginnings: Where do you place a visitor in a virtual site?
  3. Dynamic alterity: How should or could they navigate time, space and interpretation?
  4. Art Versus Scientific Imagination: How should they separate artistic from current reality from interpreted virtuality? What if the artistry is impressive but speculative?
  5. Projects: Where can the projects (that apparently relate to the questions posed in the text), be experienced or otherwise accessed? How will they be preserved?
  6. Interactive Navigation: How do we navigate time, space, interpretation, and task/goal?
  7.  Authenticity, accuracy and artistry: How does one balance all three?
Academic

Thank you for sharing

Though I have been critical of https://www.academia.edu/ I can also see good, and I greatly appreciate the feature where people can comment on why they want to download an author’s paper.

When an author is writing for different audiences or for a new one, comments explaining where and why a publication has been helpful is encouraging and useful feedback. For new academics, these comments can be used for promotion and so on, but even us older academics can appreciate a few words of feedback and even constructive criticism!

Academic, Conference

Choosing Conference Hosts

Did you ever have to choose between prospective conference hosts? I don’t remember ever seeing criteria for choosing potential conference hosts but a few times I have been asked to choose or rank applications and from memory I try to mark them against criteria like the one below. Happy change or replace this if someone has a better system well laid out somewhere. Oh and I have not weighted the criteria against each other but that could be done with some contextual information.

  1. Venue capacity and character (size of plenary room, facilities, exhibition capacity, access to transport)
  2. Organizational competence
  3. Local heritage, tours and ambience
  4. Daily costs and access to venue, city and country (for majority of attendees)
  5. Western/non-western/ethnic balance
  6. Links to related institutes/institutional support
  7. Ability to bring in students, communities, related events and organizations
  8. Local expertise in heritage
  9. Ability to bring in keynote speakers and sponsors