Questions answered from previous post

Right. So I asked a bunch of questions about the direction Splatterbound is taking in my last post. Here, as much for my benefit as anyone else’s, I try to answer them.

How to do indexing? What should people see when they arrive on the site and what should happen when they click through from the homepage to one of the book pages?
Maybe each page could be in a chapter, or category. These chapters could be defined after discussion but there’d be something like fifteen of them, I think. Eventually at least. There could be quite a variety of them, too. Hopefully they’d suggest different directions for each page without being overly prescriptive. Each page would then fit into one of the chapters. I think they’d have to be categories though because chapters could end up being too much of a restriction. I like the idea of playing with the book concept a bit but I can just see it getting difficult to do on the internet with different contributors.

Should each page have different branches? If so, how should those be presented?
I think they should. I think people should probably have the option of remixing a page at any stage of its history. This would mean that each page could go in many different directions from a given starting point.
I think the main reason for my thinking this is simply that the online part of the project’s being online means that we can do this. I’d rather play up the differences between the online version and the paper version.

This throws up one of the things we were always talking about on the Digital Arts MA – Remixing. I should probably write a blog post about that as well. Splatterbound is strongly tied up in all of that stuff. I’d like to think and read a little more about why and get back to the whole art theory thing a little in the process. I’ve been neglecting that.

The question then is how to present these branches. I liked an idea Annie sent that sugggested the home page of the site could have a massive grid of thumbnails (Maybe I should post that diagram she sent). Ummm… I think it might be big sheet of paper and crayon time. That way I can try to visualise the whole thing. I’m tempted to start rambling about database structure here but think I’ll leave it for now.

What should the flow of creating or editing a page look like?
I suppose there need to be buttons for adding onto each page or branch. Each image could have a download image button or something and also an add to image button. I think that’s probably it. Each image has an ‘add’ button underneath it that means you can start a new branch.
Hmmm…. thinking about it, this branches business is great in theory but only going to be horrifically complicated to present in practise. If there was a page that had four different branches that would be very difficult to present in a sensible manner. I think the branching thing might be something for the future. I think I might try to structure the database to make it relatively easy to do in future.

So, this leaves us with one ‘add to page’ button per page. I think the upload form should probably be on a modal window and said form should come in via an iframe. When you go back to the page it should probably refresh automatically to show you the page with your addition.

Should anyone be able to start a page?
I’m thinking no. For the simple reason that it could result in lots of started pages that didn’t really go anywhere. I think people should be able to submit pages and then a new page should begin every month or so. You’d still be able to edit the old ones. I think anyone should be able to submit a page. Not sure what the selection process would be. This could be a trial and error thing, perhaps.

In conclusion then, one page can be viewed in a tab as it was in my original alpha version. Each version can be viewed by rolling over the tabs below/above/next to the image. I think each page should get a page (if you follow my meaning). I still quite like Annie’s suggestion of the massive grid, not least because of the flexibility of the idea. I want to try to make this site as flexible as possible for multiple platforms and screen sizes. This is mainly because I have to get my head around the concept because multifarious screens and platforms are the future of the web. Dammmit.

On that note, I think I’ll sign off.

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2 Comments so far
  1. by Annie

    On February 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I like the branching idea. In that case, the last, composite picture is not as important anymore (especially if there are multiple, for each page). To show the branching visually & in a dynamic way would be rather cool. The challenge there would be to not have the branching detract from the images or the navigation experience.

    One could still branch off even if it’s shown in a linear fashion (i.e. responding to a previous picture instead of the most recent). Even if it’s less visually obvious.

    So, one set of pages (one collaboration) per chapter/category? Makes sense. The grid is the alternative to including a text link of the category, for navigating to a page. Unless you’re adding another level, where it might go categories>grid>image+tabs. That would probably be confusing, though, to switch it up like that.

    Anyway, these are some good things to ponder!

  2. by Dan Fone

    On February 11, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I like the branching idea too and I’d even go as far as to say I’m attached to it. I just can’t visualise a way of it working without being an enormous mess. I can’t see how people would update it. In theory people would be able to edit an image that was a branch within a branch. But then that one could go on and there could be a branch within that. It would be impossible to present in an organised fashion. The alternative is to put each page in a soup. So it wasn’t presented in an organised way at all. Which might even be the best way of doing it. But then the new version would lose its sense of being a child of the older version. People would miss the sense of the page changing through the different iterations, which would be a shame.

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