Information structure for an instructional website on the film post production process for students Lessons from the Cmapping process: The information as presented in the film production manual, delivered to the designers as a written text on Google docs, and as interpreted in the form of a chart, constructed using Cmap tools, displays a structure that is horizontally vast and vertically shallow. There are 12 main production activities, (see the yellow boxes in Fig 1. below). Less than half of the main production activities offer instructions for the student to perform a series of tasks i.e. instructions for serial and/ or parallel sets of tasks is explained to the student (after this, do that / if not, this then that). The rest of the main production activities offer an explanation or a description of a task, example explanation of duties and responsibilities or description of indications to watch out for while conducting a task. In the Cmap chart, both actual tasks and descriptions of tasks are depicted as vertical layers (where each new layer is indicated in a new color of boxes), thus providing a misleading impression of the number of tasks to be performed per main production activity. The distinction of tasks to be performed and explanation of a task in itself is left to the text-based description placed at the connector between two concepts. Example of text-based descriptors for conducting a process based task include, 'if material not linked to active projects, then (remove from servers)',' add logos (of YLE etc)'. Examples of text-based descriptors explaining a step in the process include, 'avoid (a certain software)', ' follow (Yleisradio guidelines)'. The point here being, that were the website to depict the production process as a diagrammatic hierarchy of activities then the conflation of tasks and explanations would result in a false impression of density of activities to the student-beholder. So I avoided representing instructions for tasks in the form of chart.
What is the www interface for? For a student of film production, whom the website is aimed at, the website could play the role of, (1) providing step-by-step instructions of the film production process (2) a reference manual or a ready reckoner. These roles would not be mutually exclusive and would allow for both novice and advanced students to use the website. The information in the instructional manual was structured into two main sections for the website, Section 1.0: Process, where the tasks involved in the post production process would be explained step by step from an index of steps. The form of an index would allow for tasks that would require cross-referencing. Section 2.0: Vocabulary, where tasks, concepts, activities, terms etc would be accessible in alphabetical order and in order of most referenced. The following four slides contain screen shots of webpages at different levels of the www interface for the film post production manual.
color: I selected two contrasting colors and worked with shades of the two. I wanted the color variation to evoke a symmetry with the shallow depth of the website structure.
Design considerations by Zeenath Hasan for a web based interface to a film production manual VIPP 2009
<ul><li>Instructions to the designer </li></ul><ul><li>Make a rough sketch of the Film Post Production manual with Cmap Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Make a www interface for the manual </li></ul>
Fig 1: Cmap chart depiction of the film production process
Fig 3: Landing page of the ‘process’ section where tasks are listed in order of steps in the post production process. Cross referencing of tasks is possible as each step has a unique reference number.
Fig 4: Subpage in the ‘process’ section where a task in being explained. The explanation can ride over more thank one webpage and be accessed by clicking on the page counter in the bottom right corner.
Fig 5: Landing page of the ‘vocabulary’ section (2.0) where tasks, concepts, terms etc are listed in alphabetic order (2.1). There is a link to the same terms being listed in order of most reference (2.2), which is a dynamic list informed by the frequency in which students reference particular concepts, tasks etc offering a section on website where it is the student’s collective curiosity or hunger for knowledge that affects the indexical order.