Reflective Essay

I am going to use this essay as an overall reflection on my design process including research and production, this analysis will help me see exactly where I can improve in future projects. By looking back on my progress of work I can begin to see the areas  that could have benefited from more in depth research or a greater focus in a specific area of practice. From this, I will be able to have a detailed list of elements and ideas that I felt I succeeded in or  that I didn’t complete to the best of my ability. Communicating an idea was something I realised was of great importance and at the forefront of my idea process. “Communication is a systemic process in which people interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings” (Wood, 2009).

When I was given the brief about the Jurassic Coast, I personally didn’t know anything about the area and was generally clueless about the history or geography so when I heard that we would have to create a digital media asset to try and attract a specific audience to the area I had no idea where to start. In hindsight, I left it too long to do some light research on the area and why it could benefit from more economy or social activity. In future projects, I will do some immediate research into the area as it will set me up nicely for the remainder of the project and put me in a good position for when it comes to defining a client and a target audience. I did do some research into some of the new technology that could be used to attract audiences and did further readings on convergence and platforming which I thought helped give me a deeper insight into the type of digital media asset I could think about for an audience.

Before I could start devising ideas, it was important that a client and audience were defined. I needed to follow an in depth look into who is and isn’t interested in the coast. In order to be as realistic as possible and make my idea as viable and approachable as it could be, I looked into a number of companies whose aim is to promote the social well being of the coast and somewhere that targeted a range of age groups. I did research into companies like the ‘National Trust’ who tick all these boxes and have the ability to target and get in touch with a mass audience. I decided that picking somewhere more local to the Jurassic Coast would give my client a more personal touch and somewhere that would be able to directly and easily connect with the locals whilst also appearing safe and trusted. Therefore I decided to use the ‘Lyme Regis Development Trust’ as at the time I felt this was a reliable company and the previous work was similar to the type of project I planned to create and work with when I came to it. I made sure to look online and find previous projects the client had worked with and if there were any areas they seemed weaker in.  If I could do anything better the next time round in a similar working experience I would simply do research into a larger number of local trusts as I found what I wanted straight away and stuck with it. Next time, I would note down key features of at least 5 companies and pick the best from this, or I would ask around and see which people found more reliable or attractive. This way I could come to the best possible conclusion, I do believe I made the right decision and did enough research on my final client as it offers all the elements needed in a client linked with the Jurassic Coast.

When it came to defining a target audience, I picked a demographic that I felt would most likely want to visit or gain more contact with the Jurassic Coast. I decided to do a family audience as this leaves me a number of elements to focus on when devising an idea and it leaves me room to explore the production side of the project in a number of ways. If anything, I think I could have benefited from listing down a number of different audiences before jumping in and deciding to do a family audience. I thought I did well to choose this though as I went online and after looking at previous work my chosen client had done, it was clear there was a gap in the market with children being  targeted separately and no type of family fun day had been created. Therefore this presented me with a good idea for the types of production I could begin prototyping.

I felt I was progressing well at this point with a clear client and audience defined, it set me up in a good position going into the actual research trip for the Jurassic Coast and allowed me to do a little planning beforehand. Looking back on things, I would be more prepared for any future research trips as I didn’t take enough pictures or document the day as thoroughly as I probably should have done. This left me in a bad position when returning from the trip as it was difficult to pin point exactly where was where and I couldn’t remember the important locations I could have potentially used for my final idea. If I had another chance, I would create a video blog of the day to use as research and as future analysis. This way I could note down all my ideas and have a free flowing document detailing any ideas I could potentially use in my future prototypes. Another thing I would have done differently would be to take more notice of the people actually visiting the coast so I could create a more detailed audience profile or perhaps even create questionnaires for the locals. This is all part of my learning process and I will take into consideration to note down anything I find might be of use or importance for future projects.

When it came to actually defining a clear idea for the digital media asset, there are many areas in which looking back on, I feel I will focus on doing differently and to better ability in the future. I felt that although my first idea was a draft, It was not as focused as it should be and I hadn’t done enough audience feedback to warrant it being a valid or potentially realistic idea. I did plenty of research into the types of new technology around that I felt could attract and be used to interest and engage adults as well as children and was happy that I had come to right decisions with the sort of technology I had chosen to utilise with my main idea. It was the content of my idea that lacked research and some of the side plans were not as linear or well thought out as the main asset in the project. Next time, I will brainstorm and create a range of surveys to see what others think would be viable and realistic ideas when it comes to creating something for a family audience. I do feel I managed my time well and instead of getting stuck trying to come up with multiple ideas without creating or moving something in motion, I moved forward with an idea that I feel represented the client and the area well and that I felt I could easily link with my target audience. I did choose to focus my idea around a mobile application as I felt this would be easy to mock up and prototype and is something that is widely understood and known. If I were to think any differently on future projects I would definitely list down many more ideas and list pros and cons of each before deciding on a final idea but in this case I am happy with my process of choice.

I feel my prototypes are something I would definitely work in making more free flowing as a standalone element in my design process in the future. Looking back on my work there is no theme or sustained visuals across my ideas which is something I would definitely think about doing next time. I felt that my progress in ideas is well illustrated and demonstrates my ability to take on feedback that I gathered from class presentations and peer assessments. If I were to do something different next time it would be to create more promotional material such as a television advertisement or even an entire advertising campaign as most of my ideas are text based. If I had managed my time in a more efficient manner then I would have been able to mock up an actual mobile application or video that shows exactly how the app works.

In general, I felt that all feedback given across my peer assessment and class presentation helped me refine my idea and create content that allowed a reinvented and  new virtual experience arise from my work that can’t be seen anywhere else.  The peer assessment was useful as it gave me an opportunity to compare what stage I was at and sit back and analyse my own doings as well as examine another peer’s work. I used any feedback I got from these sessions to craft my idea into a more understandable and user friendly experience. If I can see any negatives from this experience or find any ways to make this better in any future projects it would be that not enough feedback was gathered to actually make what I was using reliable information. Next time, as well as taking this information on board I will make sure to upload an online survey that people can fill out and give me an even bigger idea of positives or negatives in my idea. This way I will be able to form the most refined, focused asset that will benefit my audience in the best way and fit a client criteria.

To conclude, I feel satisfied in the way I have gone about my design process. I researched enough to be able to find a realistic client and build a suitable audience profile but I could have benefited in my design process through more time management and an overall increase in potential user feedback. I am happy with my overall project as I feel I have identified with the brief in asserting a realistic client base and have clearly defined an audience that realistically could be attracted to the Jurassic Coast for an educational and entertainment reason. If anything, I feel I could have benefited more from planning in advance, especially with the field trip as this was one of the only chances to experience the location hands on and I could have take more from this day than I did. Overall, I reacted efficiently to feedback and updated the design process as I went along meaning my idea was focused, to the point and clearly explained.

References:

Watton, P. (2001). Reflective Writing. Available: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/fch/work-experience/reflective-writing-guidance.pdf. Last accessed 5th November 2013.

Wood, J (2009). Communication in our lives. Boston: Wadsworth Learning. p9.

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