getting to know the 'what & how'
A first pass over what you may be able use that already exists, so you can raise any potential resourcing issues early on.
back to foundation
Figuring out what is available for your use in deploying and developing your experience will give you a sense of the possibilities and restrictions out there.
At this stage, this is meant as a pass-through of the potential resources and the pros & cons associated with them. Things to look for here:
- what exists in the site?
- what resources will the participants be able to bring/use that they already have?
- what do you currently have access to?
It's not all about the Device
Think beyond the purely technological devices you might require or have access to.
- Physical - posters, cipher disks, code books, pens, paper, binoculars, spaces, billboards and on...
- Infrastructure - electricity, network (phone/wireless/internet), servers, water and on...
- Human Skills - development, design, management, acting and ...
what do they have?
Participants will come with a set of 'things' that they can use in the experience. What can you reasonably ask them to bring with them?
- mobile phone? with camera? with web access? with MMS?
- smart phone?
- laptop? netbook? iPad?
- mp3 player? FM reciever? headphones?
What base level of resources can you assume participants to have? For example, given the proliferation of mobile phones, it can be assumed that a majority of participants will have access to SMS & mobile network.
what do you have that you can use?
You may have an equipment or resource pool already that you can draw from.
what exists in the site?
When you visit your site, look around to see what you may be able to use within the site
- public address systems
- wireless access points
- empty buildings or shop spaces
- notice boards
- public display screens
Find out who owns the resources you'd be interested in using and what need to be done to access them.
An extra consideration here, if you are placing elements into the site:
- Is the site sheltered - or do you need to consider weather-protection?
- Fixing elements to the site - security, access & bylaws?
what new stuff will you use?
If you are creating this experience to explore a new technology or device (or a new way of using it):
- what are the costs involved for purchasing, development, deployment and distribution?
- is there sufficient support available for during development?
- if it is something the participants will need for the experience, how will you manage this?
Back-end vs Front-end
Resources need to be considered not only from a participatory point-of-view, but also from a development, support & human resources point-of-view.
For example, if you intend to use SMS as the main form of interaction in your experience you will need to have the following:
- a mobile phone with credit - Participants (front-end)
- a method for sending, receiving and processing text messages - Development (back-end)
what is required to participate?
What will your participants need to be able to engage with the experience. Map out or bodystorm the interactions and the possible resources you could use to realise these.
Lowest Common Denominator?
When scoping out resources for participation, consider whether you:
- want to work with those that you can safely assume your participants will have. (ie SMS on a mobile)?
- if you do, will you offer staged experiences for those with more advanced/different resources (ie MMS on a mobile)?
- if not, how will you ensure the participants have what they need to engage with the experience?
behind the scenes
In addition to exploring resources needed for participation, you will also need to consider what you will need behind-the-scenes for the development & deployment of the experience.
- who has the expertise you need for development/implementation?
- what infrastructure do you need to setup your experience (ie SMS gateway, wireless access points, web-server, ...)
- what are the potential issues that you may encounter with these?