During World War II, the legendary entertainer Bob Hope traveled thousands of miles to entertain American servicemen, often putting himself directly in harm’s way. I worked with a team at Ideum to create an interactive multitouch application for the National World War II Museum
in New Orleans, which focuses on two of Hope’s USO tours. The goal was not only to showcase a wealth of historical footage, images, and other media, but to put them in context to tell this fascinating and often moving story.
Roles: Software Development (Unity 3D)
A key challenge for development was the volume and intricacy of the content, which included images, videos, and text. Each piece of media was tied to a specific time and place on Hope's tours, which was shown using a detailed set of maps.
Throughout the project, members of the team were involved in ongoing historical research, so that the content and its structure continued to evolve up to the last minute. To help manage this, I developed a flexible back-end that allowed us to quickly adjust not only the media files and text themselves, but also map locations, camera zoom values, icon and text placement, and many other parameters that needed constant tweaking. This ability to adjust the details until we got it right paid off: the specificity of the content in time and space was key to helping visitors connect to the story more directly.
The project required close collaboration with the main designer, content developer, producer, and the museum curator. I worked closely with the team to refine the software in response to user testing and evolving content, especially in regards to animations. These proved crucial not only aesthetically, but for the context and continuity they provide to users of the app. To take one specific example a lot of work went into adjusting the timing and sequencing of the opening animation for each tour. This effort enabled users understand the app without detailed instructions.
Another place where animation played a key role was when moving between locations. We wanted to help users maintain a sense of continuity and context when zooming between different geographic scales, to help keep both the big picture and the details in mind as they followed Hope on his journey.