Time got away from me, so I haven’t been blogging, just working hard to finish the end product. And, it’s done! I’m exhausted, relieved and delighted with what I have achieved, but looking at the whole thing from start to finish, I really wish I could have done more. I’m not sure if those are expectations i’m imposing on myself, or wether the project actually delivers, I guess we will see.
One of the main glaring differences is the complete change in design from the original Ginfographic website. For that site, I approached the styling from a historical, botanical and feminine point of view, using illustrations of the Gin Craze and hues of cash colours, however now the final application is simple, solid, bright and contrasting colours. Although the Ginfographic website is the same, for now – I do need to update it, I understand the cohesion is awful – I definitely favour the new styling.
In the previous iteration of this, I used the Ginfographic background image on the application. This made it too fussy and subtracted from the content. Now, the colours are vibrant against a desaturated background, and the flavours really come alive. There is also a GUI in order to cycle through the recipes and control the appearance of flavours, as defined by dials on the left hand side. I wanted to have to option to toggle these on and off, with gestural resizing of the flavours without the obvious sweet, salty, sour, etc labels. I guess I adhered to the prescriptive mode of describing flavour in this instance, and I am okay with it for now.
I understand the limits of my current skillset and the project timeframe, and to be honest I have achieved a lot with setting up my own server, installing Apache and MySQL on it, mapping a domain to it, running Flask in a virtual environment and creating a user authentication system alongside representing data I obtained and submitted through an API, then creating my own API and accessing the data in Processing and using three research projects to define a suggestion, or at least open a conversation about, how we describe flavour – in this instance creating a particle system that adheres to some rules of physics to depict the movement of that specific flavour profile on our tastebuds within that specific drink. There is still a graphical representation of flavour for every recipe, and they are vibrant and descriptive, but not perfect, I know. Focusing on what I have achieved is very affirming, but i’d also like to think about what I would change, and how I will develop further.
Firstly, I would have spent more time thinking about the design. I stuck to my guns on getting the foundations solid on this one, and maybe didn’t spend long enough on the analysis of data with regards to what it would actually look like. I would have implemented sound, as that is important, and Tony’s contributions were interesting but sadly not used, sound being an important aspect of any environment or atmosphere, which I was trying to create. I would have been more careful with my versioning and organisation of files. I also would have been more critical at each stage, editing things that weren’t relevant, not procrastinating on one aspect by focusing on something less important, as they didn’t lead me anywhere – like the word cloud.
Although my University grade is extremely important to me, I have decided to not get caught up in the grade as such, as I have gained so much practical knowledge applicable to my coding practises, understanding my limits and also realising how to balance form and function. I’ve also discovered a deep passion for research and citizen science, in the realm of working with people and utilising open data to understand subjects that are interesting to me, such as language and food. I doubt that I could contribute groundbreaking developments, rather enjoy this direction that this project has taken me and feel fulfilled in future work and collaborating with like minded people.
To enhance this project, there are so many things I would love to do. In the short term, with my 3rd year exhibition in mind, I am aiming to implement the ‘transparency’ toggle – meaning the flavour controls apparent in my final piece. I’d like to be able to hide these, enabling the user to use gestures to change the size of each Taste Location and have the option to discover the actual ‘meaning’ or generalised parent of each location. This would update to the server, and the results will be displayed live elsewhere. Getting the HTTPS working optimally to enable posting JSON data back to my server and processing it is another short term goal.
Thinking further into the future, I would like to incorporate my research into the application, and ensure maximum fluidity within what kinds of data could be added.