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Can ARIS do push notifications?

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:53 pm
by WaterGuerrilla
We believe the answer is "no" but I wasn't sure so wanted to ask the community as this question came up in conversation with our team bout how to get the word out about our game.

Push notifications could be useful, especially if there were a way to tie in the push notifications to updates to a particular game a user has downloaded ARIS in order to play.

Most of you are using ARIS in academic or training contexts, but we are using it for public engagement and one of our hurdles is guiding folks to/from ARIS and our game.

Re: Can ARIS do push notifications?

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:43 pm
by chrish
Agree. You can see some work in this direction of making the app porous to the world outside the app in siftr. Don't believe there's been much time (money) to think this through in ARIS. Even though it might be a pipe dream for now, we could think through how this should ideally work. How would you see notifications working (for authors and players) and what other porous features would make sense?

Re: Can ARIS do push notifications?

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:23 pm
by WaterGuerrilla
For authors, I'd see push notifications as a valuable tool to communicate that we've loaded a new level or a new game or to nudge folks who have already played that there is an event coming up when they can play our game with others.

If authors could opt their game in or out of using push notifications that might be something that could live on the Game tab.

If players were defaulted to receiving push notifications but could opt out of push notifications if they did not want them, or not from a particular game, that would give them freedom to be bothered by red flags all the time.

The big hurdle for us is that we can push our game and people get excited, but I have to get them over the ARIS install and create a player profile hurdle. And then I as the designer don't have the ability to capture who is joining ARIS to play our game--ARIS gets that data but we don't unless our player shows up on the leaderboard or posts a Note, for example. So aggregating a player community--all those ARIS users who join to play Water Story MKE--and allowing push notifications just for a particular game could help us rally that community. Either just to play. Or to play a particular site, level, or game.

Another feature that people have asked me about--and we've had to tell them "no"--is, they ask, "Oh, can your phone buzz if you're just driving by such-and-such landmark in order to let you know there's something interesting there?" And right now this is only possible if they are already in ARIS and let's face it, most people are not going to be in ARIS all the time on their phone. So this is impractical, even though with the geolocative aspect, it's technically possible and people who would download our game may be willing to receive that kind of push--they just aren't likely to always be on ARIS in their daily life. So that would be another push notification of high value for a game experience like ours. It's hard enough to motivate them to download ARIS, create their profile, find our game. And I can guide them to play the game and have a great time. But then I lose them unless there's an external stimulus to get them back in--even though I can (and am creating) create citywide content that could be relevant in a passive context. The push notification could be another external stimulus to bring them back in based on a previously undiscovered or unexplored location. So we're not banking on this, but it would be a great feature and one that would benefit both player and designer. Again, this logic applies because we are explicitly appealing to various sectors of a general audience and not to specialized audiences who will be willing to overcome those hurdles on their own.

This is not make or break by any means, but thinking long-term, these are two ways we would use such a feature.

As far as other porous features, I assume this term in this context refers to functions that would occur even when the phone user is not in ARIS and/or could cross over to other apps or phone functions... Hmm. We've had people ask for an easier way to access photos they've taken on their phone when posting to Notebook. They want to be able to use their Camera function and go directly from that to Notebook. Notebook is too clunky and they get frustrated or confused. This is already an old refrain for me, but if Notebook were less clunky--more porous?--I think the user experience would be smoothed. Probably also cross connections to other apps like Facebook and Instagram. It would be valuable to cross-pollinate social media to/from ARIS/Notebook. The designer/author can capture more users that way and the user has a better feedback mechanism to demonstrate that they derived value and fun from their ARIS game experience. Keeping it locked inside ARIS (or even Siftr as you need a player profile and the interface between ARIS and Siftr was rigid) can draw a limiting box around their experience and make it feel too isolated or "only educational."

Perhaps eliminating the need for a segregated ARIS profile and connecting to another pre-existing user profile like Google, Facebook, or Apple. I don't know. We all get tired of having a gajillion profiles and anything to reduce this hurdle has value; though I understand the countervailing argument that ARIS ought not be wedded to some other corporate system because then that's it. Not complaining per se, just thinking perviously.

Would also be wonderful to directly communicate with Google Earth. I had an inquiry today about whether we could toggle through historic maps of a place and I explained that we could do this in Google Earth but in our ARIS app we would have to approach this question with more static content rather than dynamic content. As I understand it, this is currently the case. I know we have a theoretical request to David about using KMZ base map layers, but this is currently down the road a bit, funding dependent. But that's more porosity!

Re: Can ARIS do push notifications?

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:32 pm
by djgagnon
This is so ofter the answer, but both push notifications and background location awareness are completely feasible and could likely be built in just a few weeks if your team was able to pay for the development time.

We already have push notifications in place in a specific museum context, but it does not have a generalized interface and ARIS must be running.

We've done some prototyping with background locations and even had a version of Siftr that did it. So we know it's possible. The main limitation is that a max of 20 locations could be designated.

If you have some resources and want to contribute to make these things possible, please speak up. This is how open source works: You get 95% for free and only have to build 5% more.

Re: Can ARIS do push notifications?

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:42 pm
by WaterGuerrilla
Thanks, Dave. I'll talk with Reflo's executive director on Tuesday and include this in our discussion. My understanding is we don't have resources to draw on internally, but this would be something we could include in a future grant or larger partnership. As we spread the word more and more about our game, it builds up excitement in the various communities we interface with, and so it's possible we'll reach a point where unexpected parties are willing to partner to fund desired things. But I also have to be honest with people about expectations based on the current capacity versus future possibilities. It would be great indeed to stretch ARIS's capabilities and I am glad to hear that, as Spock would say, there are always possibilities.