Case Study

Affordance

What field of study is the affordance reading situated in?

Psychology

Who originally conceived of the term ‘affordance’, in which field of study?

The word “affordance” was devised by psychologist J.J Gibson to refer to the actionable properties between the world and an actor such as a person or animal. Gibson considers affordances as relationships, they exist naturally and do not have to be visible, known or desirable.

Describe what ‘affordance’ refers to conceptually in this context?

The underlying conceptual model is a difficult element of the affordance design. It formulates an appropriate conceptual model and then assures that everything else is consistent with it.

What is a ‘constraint’ within the context of the affordance reading?

There are three types of behavioural constraints: physical, logical and cultural. Physical constraints are closely related to real affordances. For example, it is not achievable to move the cursor outside the screen: this is a physical constraint as well as restricting the cursor to exist only in screen locations where its position is useful. Logical constraints use reasoning to define the alternatives. Therefore, if we ask users to click on five spots and only four are immediately visible, the person knows, rationally, that there is one location off the screen. Logical constraints are valued in guiding behaviour. It is how the user knows to keep scrolling and see the rest of the page and how they know when they have completed a task. Logical constraints complement a strong conceptual model. Cultural constraints are conventions shared by a cultural group and are learned conventions. For example, we know that one should move the cursor to a “scroll-bar”, hold down a mouse button, and “drag” it downwards in order to see content not visible on the screen.


Online Video

Why have you chosen this online video work? What influenced your decision?

We have chosen this video, titled ‘Draw My Life’ as it is by a popular vlogger who goes by her username, Zoella. Zoella has over 11 and a half million subscribers on YouTube, where she publishes her videos online, and so it is evident that her videos have an element of success due to their popularity. This video in particular, at the time of writing, has over 15 million views. As a group, we wanted to discuss an online video that was popular, fun, intriguing, and thought provoking.

What is the subject?

The subject is Zoella’s life story. Though it is a quick recap that only lasts just over 6 minutes, it has stories and details based on her life.

What type of material is used? (i.e. archive, found footage, live action, interview…)

The footage is live action, however the only part of Zoella that viewers can see is her hands. This is because she is taking part in a popular online video trend, where vloggers use a whiteboard to draw imagery as they tell the stories of their lives.

What do you think the video was recorded with? (DSLR, smartphone, webcam…etc)

As Zoella is a successful YouTube vlogger, it seems as though she would have a professional DSLR or video camera. The picture is very clear and defined as well.

What is the point–of–view? (i.e. the position of the camera, framing, focus, sharpness, light, exposure, colour, motion…) How are these techniques used to communicate a particular perspective or point–of–view?

The point of view seems to be birdseye, with the whiteboard taking up the entire frame. As mentioned, it is very well focused and sharp which is likely due to the quality of Zoella’s camera. The colour is rather limited as she mostly uses black markers on a white whiteboard, however there are some illustrations completed which use colour.

What type of sound is used? (i.e. music, atmospheric, voice-over, narration…). How is the sound used in regards to the effect created for the viewer?

The most prominent sound in the video is Zoella’s voice, which is in the video via voice-over narration, as she tells her life story. Additionally, there is some quiet bubbly music in the background which keeps the video very light and positive.

How important is post-production in the realisation of the work?

The post-production seems to be less significant than the production itself. There are three obvious post-production additions. The first is the editing of the actual footage, which seems to only include speeding up the drawing that Zoella is doing. Secondly, there is the addition of the background music. Thirdly, it is highly likely that Zoella’s voiceover narration was added in editing, as her voice is very clear and was likely recorded through a high quality microphone. Additionally, had Zoella done the voiceover as she drew, it would not have matched the timing of her stories (either her voice would be sped up, or it would have been out of time). Additionally, in the last 16 seconds, the drawings and story are complete, and viewers can then see two screenshots leading to other videos by Zoella. One screenshot has the caption ‘click below to watch my previous video’ (where viewers can click into the screenshot to be redirected), and the other is captioned ‘Click above to watch my vlogs’ (again, viewers can click into the screenshot to be redirected). In the same frame, a message says ‘don’t forget to subscribe’, and there is a URL for Zoellas website, www.zoella.co.uk. This is very common in videos that well-known vloggers produce. It is essentially a click-bait method towards more of their content that is added in post-production.


Service

Provide an overview of this service in relation to what it affords authors to do with online video? Are the videos shared natively on this service or hosted elsewhere? Or is it capable of offering both options?

YouTube is a video sharing platform that permits users to upload content onto their personalised YouTube Channel. This customized channel lists videos of your choosing that both you and other users create. YouTube features comment threads and videos that can be managed and a counter that records who is watching what content so that users can keep track of who is watching their videos. YouTube content is capable of being both native and nonnative. Whilst majority of videos posted to YouTube are watched on this platform, they can too be embedded and posted to other platforms such as blogs. If a link to a YouTube video is posted on social media platforms, for example, facebook, users will be redirected to the original YouTube site.

Describe the playback of videos on the service.

To give users the best viewing experience possible, YouTube automatically adjusts the quality of videos being streamed from standard definition to high definition. However, this depends on on the speed of user’s internet connection.

Is there a restriction on duration?

By default, users can upload videos that are up to 15 minutes in duration, but can upload longer videos by verifying settings on their channels or granting access to live streaming where long uploads are enabled by default.

What are the constraints imposed by the service on the publication of video?

YouTube restricts videos that include nudity or sexual content, harmful or dangerous content, violent or graphic content, copyright, hateful content, threats or spam, misleading metadata and scams.

Describe the functionality of the service in regards to authoring and distribution? For instance, do the videos have to be authored in another application beforehand? With distribution — is there an option to share internally and externally? Can the users add comments? Can the producers add tags?

In terms of authoring, an ‘Upload’ button gives direct access to the page that is used to upload a video and its metadata, and a channel icon gives entry to the channel’s ‘Creator Studio’, a suite of pages that are used to manage the user’s videos. Although much of the editing of a video is likely to be done offline before the video is uploaded, these pages include basic editing tools, including tools that can be used to add multimodal features to a video such as a title, annotations, cards and windows for video and still images. These pages also provide tools to manage the content of video pages and channel pages after they have been created. Not all users will choose to author their videos on YouTube but rather other preferred programs that they are familiar with. When it comes to the functionality of YouTube in regards to distribution, users can choose to make their content available on all platforms or monetized platforms only. Videos can be shared on all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Google+ and LinkedIn. Users can share, embed, comment, like and dislike all videos.