I’ve spent a fair bit of today trying to get this tutorial working. webdesignermag.co.uk. It’s supposed to make a poll and chart in Flash that connects to a MySQL database. I can’t get it to connect to my database though.
Apart from the fact that I can’t get this to connect to my database it does basically work. I’m not that excited about the bar chart visualisation but the immediacy of it is nice. It’s easy to style as well. I could blur the bars in interesting ways if I wanted, for example. It’s not going in to the database though, so it doesn’t remember the results from one visit to the next.
I generally don’t like Flash anyway. I like it less the more I use it. I had however heard that Flash is good for dealing with motion tracking and as such touch screens. There’s a general sense that I need to have some kind of interesting interaction in my final show presentation to make it work.
I’m in two minds about this because the thrust of my blog and MA research over the past year or so has been channelled in to the internet, not gallery based or location specific work. A touch screen is immediately location specific. That means it prioritises one viewing of the work over another. I don’t like that. I’m also generally excited about the internet at the moment. I think a lot of really interesting things can happen on it, and probably will in the near future.
I appreciate the sense that there should be an interesting interaction for the final show though. The alternative is that the work I show at the final show is essentially a website. Putting a website in a gallery context is perhaps not a good idea from the off. A website is really designed to be looked at home. I think that’s interesting. You’re more likely to reach people at their most relaxed.
Another approach here is that I can have a nice looking projection on to a big sreen but people will still be presented with a keyboard and mouse. This is okay but now I come to type it, it feels like a halfway house that would please neither ideal. It would be neither slick, fun interaction for the final show visitor or aura-free website. Maybe it would even feel half-hearted. That would obviosuly be the last thing I need.
I had a tutorial with Jonathan earlier. His suggestion was that I needed to test both the touchscreen and website approach so I can see which one is best first hand and how people respond.
The difficulty, apart from this argument, is in the fact that I just feel more comfortable using PHP and other hand programmed web technologies than with Flash. More than this, I don’t like the idea of building the questionnaire for my website and then building it again in Flash. I’d rather build it for the website and then largely copy and paste a streamlined version to be projected on to a perspex screen for the final show.
Another option is to use separate buttons instead of a touchscreen. If every question has four possible answers and below the screen there are four big colourful buttons immediately the questionnaire will feel more friendly and accessible in the show environment. Happily, Kenji has said he’d be very happy to help me out here. He knows a few things about this kind of thing. Thumbs up to Kenji.