The Mood Gallery: Design Decisions
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The Mood Gallery
 

Design decisions:

       Although there were a number of design issues which were debated and discussed, the following is an explanation of the main issues which we considered needed addressing.

Logo:

There was a number of problems on deciding on which logo best suited the mood gallery. We were determined to play on the metaphor of a gallery and keep in touch with the feeling of existing art / sculpture galleries / studios. One of the first tasks was to look at existing galleries to examine their logos and layouts. After some concepts the following logo was developed:


However after much deliberation and compromise the following logo was developed:

The new logo is believed to express more what the gallery is intended to be and also includes more subtle uses of semantics.

Access to the Gallery:

Since this is Web based and is completely interactive there were a number of issues to be dealt with here. Do we restrict access ? Do we censor the art pieces ? How can we ensure this is used in a mature and intended manner ?
After some discussion on the matter the following points were noted. The gallery may carry a warning at the title page. Although some of the submitted pieces may appear pornographic, this is still counted as art.
If we introduced a password protocol this may repel possible users. Finally we accepted that the web site would be maintained by certain individuals who would screen the entries and remove any unsuitable material.

2 D or 3 D?

Download times can be seriously effected by the language used to create the web site, by making the gallery 2 D (html based) or 3 D(Vrml based), the user may have to wait longer for each image to load. At this point we decided to head towards a mixed medium –Use html and vrml. Navigation also plays along with this issue as a 3d world will appear completely different in a 2d environment. We arrived at the conclusion that the best compromise for the navigational method used throughout the gallery would be 2d based, i.e. the user is offered the choice of moving left or right in a 3D environment, the element of space being reinforced by the ability of such entities as the mood art canvasses being capable of coming towards the user to give the impression of the user approaching the art, again this follows the metaphor belonging to physical galleries where visitors can go closer to art work or alternatively stand back from it to attain a wider scope.

Usability / Level of interaction:

When a person goes to an existing gallery he/she can only view what items are been displayed. The visitor is limited to the information attained upon entering the gallery, i.e. the catalogue which gives information on the exhibition, in the Mood gallery the visitor can obtain information on the individual pieces as they are viewing them, it also gives the visitor a chance to offer his/ her comments on the highlighted work, similar to a guestbook but more personal, (see feedback).

Audio / Visual

Moods are extremely complex, and music can have a major influence on the way you are feeling, it can even induce a certain emotional response. By having suitable, appropriate music playing while a visitor is browsing through, for example the bad mood gallery, whilst they are viewing art, of which the content is sorrowful, sad, lonely etc. the music helps reinforce the emotional impact of the mood art. The music levels can be monitored by the visitor giving them the freedom to alter the intensity and volume, depending on the mood art being viewed or by the mood they are in at that time. An example could be: whilst viewing bright and cheerful images the user may prefer the accompanying music to be quite evident and clearly audible, whilst if viewing more somber, melancholic art the user may prefer the music to be quiet and non imposing, the choice is totally up to the visitor, they can create whatever ambiance they desire through the use and manipulation of the music.

Feedback:

The user will have the option of setting up a feedback command, which will inform the person who submitted a certain piece of work, on how many people have viewed their ‘Mood’. Hopefully this will encourage users to contact each other and to discuss their moods. It is important to note that the artists e-mail account could become filled with thousands of comments and ideas from admirer's of the art, this would result in the artist canceling the option of people contacting him/her. This could be resolved by only allowing 10 e-mails concerning mood art to be displayed in the artists browser at one time. This would then encourage people to share their feelings and help in the construction of a ‘mood’ chat room where users can meet, talk, cheer each other up, or depress one another, depending on what the user is into, a concept not too dissimilar to the notion of a 'real' gallery where people are free to communicate and express their emotions and feeling about the exhibition.

The other incentive feedback is that the artist, upon submission of their art can check back to see the amount of visitors to his/her work, from this it will become on the popularity of the particular mood art. Perhaps influencing them to withdraw the work or to replace the work with an alternative piece.

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Virtual Reality Mood Gallery
Project Notebook
Paul
Sarah
Shane
Ted
Last Modified November 23rd, 1998