Audience analysis and planning for Visual Communication #2

Paying attention to our initial requirements gathering sessions of watching crowds flow through the Media School reception equipped us with the knowledge necessary to begin analysing our findings in more depth, and ultimately to come up with a set of prototype designs. As per the iterative process informing our plans, we could then reflect on the prototype, analyse results gained from it, make changes and re-evaluate until a suitable outcome is reached.

Looking at the results from our observations suggested that optimal places were plentiful due to the omnidirectional nature of the environment, with a type of “funnel” in the middle. We theorised that, as people tended to look at what was unusual about their environment, we should incorporate that sense into our design. Things that weren’t part of the every-hour happenings in the area included camera crews, large group meetings, interviews, and people moving around with audio equipment. These were the incidents that garnered the most attention and so we set about thinking of ways we could translate this into a design language – something that would stand out against other posters against which we were technically competing with for attention of the passing audience.

We toyed with ideas of;

  • Surreal imagery
  • Human, personable imagery
  • Calls to action, direct address

Surreal imagery could, due to its particularly unusual nature, attract attention in a similar way to how the infrequent appearances of camera crews and similar attracted more attention than the normal occurrences of the area, such as people using their phones. This is opposed to text-based posters and similar; our thinking behind this was that text is everywhere you look, and people may naturally filter it out in some cases if it were a primary design feature, however this idea would be something we test in the implementation stage of the process in order to gauge peoples interest in the poster compared to text-based.

We considered more human, personable imagery as we found when observing people that eye contact was often made as they felt attention in their direction, and perhaps as a natural response to the sensation of being watched. We considered using eyes, hands, and other features to attract attention, as well as evocative imagery that could potentially have a personal effect on people.

Calls to action we decided would most likely make up the text sections of our design prototypes, as it could be argued people might be more likely to respond to a direct address at them, a call to action for them to do something, as well as the implication of time running out. However this would rely on people looking at the poster and reading it initially, which we hoped would be backed up by striking imagery.

Next in the process we are going to design a selection of prototypes, and then display them in the area and make judgments on their performance, with the intention of informing our evaluation and likely changes to the designs.

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