Jason Brown

This was a live brief with the Broads Authority to produce a web app for them. The aim of the web app was to encourage residents of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to visit the Broads. 

The web app was produced using ethnographic research that was conducted by asking residents of towns in the area what would make them want to spend time at the Broads and whether an app would incentivise them to do this. Research showed that those living in the area enjoyed the peace, tranquillity and nature that the Broads offered and would like to learn to more about its history. 

With this research, I worked with BA Graphic Communication students at NUA to produce a web app featuring a nature finder, history timeline and a 360-degree image experience that would allow the user to see how the area looked centuries ago to learn about its history. 

The web app was written in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, utilising the MarziPano JavaScript library for the 360-degree image experience. 

Reception from usability testing was positive with testers enjoying the app experiences and commenting on the sleek and elegant appearance of the app and its animations. The Broads Authority was also extremely impressed with the prototype and expressed a keen interest in developing it further. 

Since the end of Year 2 of university on May 10th, the app has been updated and was tested by Corrina Mark (one of the Graphic Communication students I worked on this project with) and I at the Norfolk Show with the Broads Authority on June 27th. 

Corrina and I walked around the Norfolk Show asking lots of stallholders to test the app for us. Each test lasted between 3 and 20 minutes depending on how much the participant engaged. Notable stallholders we got to test our app were from the UEA, City College Norwich, Norfolk County Council’s technology department, Scouts and Guides and Norfolk Police. 

We completed 32 tests with a large range of participants, aged between around 15 to 70. This is the largest and most diverse user testing session that I have carried out to date. Again, the reception was generally positive with some good feedback and ‘food for thought’ thrown in. Corrina and I felt that the day was successful and we gained a lot of insight into how usable the app was and also on how to conduct more user testing. 

Words: Jason Brown, Storehouse Content Team, @jasonbrown2k13

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