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Online Art Collaboration: The Design of a Tool for Remote Collaboration on New Media Art

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Author: Boer, W.D.
Mentor: Van der Helm, A.J.C. · De Ridder, H.
Faculty:Industrial Design Engineering
Department:Industrial Design
Type:Master thesis
Keywords: online art collaboration · New Media
Rights: (c) 2010 Boer, W.D.


This report describes the design of a tool for online art collaboration; a virtual workplace for New Media art. The project is executed under the authority of the TU Delft, at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, as part of the master Design for Interaction. The client is Born Digital, an organization that supports collaborations between New Media artists both within a national and an international network. Key-points of both the virtual and physical ways in which Born Digital manifests itself are the creation of art, the sharing of knowledge and creativity, and the development of a multidisciplinary network.
The term New Media art refers to art that is created by using new media technology, and encompasses a great number of artists and disciplines. The focus of this graduation assignment is limited to the creation of static visual art, created for commercial or educational purposes. Disciplines that are related to this assignment are graphic design, illustration, photography, typography, cartoons and any other possible art forms that involve image manipulation.
As a means to explore the world of the New Media artist, interviews were conducted. The goal of this approach was to gain understanding in the thoughts, considerations and actions of the potential users of the online platform. Also, the web-based project management tools Huddle and Basecamp were examined. Their features were investigated and compared to the intended functionality of the Born Digital platform. An analysis of the version control system Subversion showed how this software is able to streamline and organize files in a collaborative project that is executed online.
In differently setup user tests, user behavior was observed and analyzed. Step by step, improvements were made to a prototype. The conclusions of the of the target group analysis and the investigation of existing technology, as well as the outcomes of the user tests, were used to state a list of design requirements. This list served as a basis for the design of an interface of the platform. Finally, a last user test was executed to validate the design.
The graduation projected resulted in a concept for a web-based tool for the collaborative creation of static visual art. It is designed in such a way that it smoothly and intuitively guides its users through the intended interactions, meanwhile inspiring them and motivating them into participation. In this virtual environment, New Media artists have the opportunity of starting new and innovative collaborations.