Research and Contextualisation

As touched upon in the introductory post for the brief, research is important in order to develop a wide understanding of the varied nuances and points of consideration for a given project, before development gets underway. After building a comprehensive picture of the project environment, analysis can begin of;

  • What exactly needs to be done
  • Why it needs to be done
  • How it could be done

Exploring these points in the context of relevant grounding research allows pathways to develop that will lean towards achieving the best possible, and most suitable results.

Carrying out research regarding Salisbury Cathedral will result in being well-equipped for designing an application centered around the building itself, as well as the exhibition that will be carried out there. Initial research to be carried out may include the following;

 

  • Can QR code stickers or similar signs be placed on the walls of the building?
  • Does the building have an available WiFi connection?
  • Does the building have strong Mobile/3G/4G connection?
  • Does GPS work well inside the building?
  • What is the layout of the building like?
  • Where exactly will the main points of the exhibition be located in relationship to the building and its grounds?
  • Is flash photography permitted?
  • How could the exhibition be affected by adverse weather conditions?

 

More points for research should be considered as the project continues, however it could be argued that for the purposes of initial requirements gathering and brainstorming ideas for an application, the points raised above may serve as helpful signposts for a direction in which to take the framework of the project.

Salisbury Cathedral is arguably one of the prime leading examples of early architecture in England, being completed in only 38 years, with construction finishing in 1258. In addition to holding the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom, it also has the largest cloister, and the worlds oldest clock.

Due to the nature of the Cathedral as an extremely old building, with delicate and valuable architecture, some common thoughts resounding around the design of an exhibition with accompanying mobile app need to be given careful thought. Carrying out research as detailed earlier in this post can help define the boundaries of what is possible due to the specific nature of the environment – QR stickers and signs may be forbidden from placement on certain parts of the cathedral due to frailty, for example. GPS may not work due to the construction of the building or a limited view of the sky, restricting the technologies that could be employed in a typical scenario. However, the realisation of barriers such as these simultaneously defines boundaries for what can be done instead in an effort to solve the design problem.

Additionally, research needs to be carried out on whether there is a strong mobile data signal, or whether there is a usable WiFi network available as these aspects could decide a fundamental part of the app. Strong mobile signal and WiFi may be assumed as always available in the majority of urban locations where an exhibition may be held, or where a mobile application may be used, however it needs to be checked thoroughly in this scenario due to the relatively rural and historical nature of the building.

Lastly, for initial research at least, the geometry and physical aspects of the environment need to be researched. Doing so allows for ideas to be developed in a way that is realistic and pragmatic, in terms of what is and isn’t possible for the location. Additionally, plans for adverse weather conditions would need to be considered – for example if the application were to include a GPS location function that required a clear view of the sky, several days of rain or poor weather during the exhibition could potentially render this part of the application useless.

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