Choosing technologies and frameworks is an important early stage of any digital research project. Basing a project on the wrong tech can cost time and money, make systems harder to support, prohibit certain types of use, diminish user experience or result in early obsolescence. However, there is rarely (if ever) such a thing as a perfect framework or technology to support the needs of a project! It is inevitably a case of weighing up pros and cons, and making an informed decision that results in the optimal tech based on ordered priorities. Such priorities may include:

  • Support for required features and interaction types
  • Flexibility / ability to customise
  • Well-established with active user and developer community
  • Track record of use in similar projects with some widely-used exemplars
  • Support for rapid development
  • Multi-platform support including Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android
  • Support for native user experience / “fit” with target platforms
  • Good documentation and tech support
  • Affordable pricing
  • Appropriate licensing

For our AHRC Digital Transformations project, “Transforming Transformation”, given the very limited resources available through the small grants scheme, and the short timescale (12 months) our highest priorities are to get started with the the core elements of the project as quickly as possible and within the project budget. Evaluating technologies and frameworks can take months, but in our case the decision has been relatively easy: we will adopt the tech that we already have expertise in and is known to work for the kinds of freehand interaction we’re looking to explore. We will therefore be basing the project around the following:

Using these technologies will enable us to focus our efforts on the interaction design and user-centred testing elements of the project rather than getting caught up in a lengthy tech evaluation stage.