david womack


“It’s hard to write, because, uh, you can write a million things a day, but it’s hard to write something that you’re proud of. So I’m just trying, you know, I’m just trying.”

Amy (2015) dir. Asif Kapadia

Contextus characters

The following was an assignment for our Narrative & Interactivity class to develop a character who uses our thesis product. I imagined four of them, all within different contexts having different motivations. This was helpful in getting me to start thinking about my final user journey video and how I would storyboard it…

Watching the evening news on CNN after long day at work, Guy Moretti slumps down on his couch while seeing disturbing footage of the recent violence in Syria. Guy feels like he cannot keep track of all the events taking place in the Middle East lately. Its about dictators backed by the U.S., the price of oil, refugees from Iraq, exported Saudi Wahhabi extremism, sectarian conflict and economic sanctions. Its about all of these things and more. “This shit is fucked up,” Guy thought as he nursed his beer, “I wonder why the Middle East always had so much trouble…” He reaches over to his messy coffee table and grabs his iPad, launching his favorite new app Contextus to try to find an answer to that very question.

Amy Li is a senior at the New School majoring in Urban Studies. After her morning class, she decides to wander over to the East Village to enjoy the crisp Spring weather. Amy often finds herself in this neighborhood, but usually with friends at night going to clubs or restaurants. Today, she notices the East Village in a whole new light as she passes by the John Varvatos boutique on the Bowery. “I can’t believe this used to be where CBGBs was,” she thinks to herself. “I always read about and heard from some of my teachers what a gritty, creative and interesting neighborhood this used to be in the 70s and 80s. How come it looks like a shopping mall now?” Sitting down in Tompkins Square Park, far away enough from the punks and homeless (but not so far as to look like she is avoiding them), Amy pulls her iPad out of her bag and starts sifting through the maps in Contextus.

Its not everyday that a man meets his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. This thought made Pat McDaniels slightly nervous as he was buying ingredients for tonight’s big home-cooked dinner with Trina Pierre-Louis and her mom and dad. Trina and her family are from Haiti and immigrated to Miami when she was twelve. Pat was always interested in travel and other cultures, but never had any interest in visiting Haiti, perhaps because of all the bad press that unfortunate nation gets. Not wanting to look ignorant or unable to hold an intelligent conversation, Pat sat down on a park bench and began swiping his way through history in Contextus.

Yael Feldman is deeply engrossed with her iPad. During her morning commute, she starts to plan for her upcoming business trip to Germany. Will the debt crisis in Greece affect the exchange rate? What about her company’s interests in the region? Even more importantly, how did the European Union get itself into this situation? As she wonders if she should bring her daughter along for the trip, Yael browses related topics in Contextus, getting a sense of how politics, history and economics are intertwined. She starts to see not only what already happened, but what could happen in the near future.