The red doom-laden head and other great ideas

Fantastic chat with Andrew Field (he of SchoolHistory fame) last night. We’ve been corresponding for ages, but only just now got to speak. I am a huge admirer of SchoolHistory, and it was that more than anything that persuaded me that Yacapaca tests should be delivered in Flash.

Andrew has not used Yacapaca before, so I assigned him a trial account, hoping to get feedback by half term at least. Seems I’d not quite grasped Andrew’s timescale; shortly before midnight two pages of absolutely top notch feedback, including a report from one of Andrew’s colleagues, was in my inbox. Here’s my favourite quote:

…make more of the yacapaca design. When the quiz is loading you get the Chalkface logo and quite a ugly loading bar. As you are using Flash 7 there are a multitude of loading techniques that you could use that would make things more interesting. How about having a massive ’empty’ yacapaca head that appears and then fills up in full colour. Don’t stop there either – how about a red ‘doom-laden’ yacapaca head that fades in just as your time starts to run out?

Andrew doesn’t pull punches and he has made a list of criticisms that need addressing. But his grasp for how students relate to what they find on their screens is so strong that it’s impossible to refute his points.

Which is my way of saying, I guess, that if you want to add anything to my to-do list for this term, you’ve had your chips. Andrew has already filled it up.


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