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The multi-platform user engagement and data visualisation tool

  • Polson, Debra
  • Maguire, Robyn
  • Selin, Cassandra
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive


The ability to identify and assess user engagement with transmedia productions is vital to the success of individual projects and the sustainability of this mode of media production as a whole. It is essential that industry players have access to tools and methodologies that offer the most complete and accurate picture of how audiences/users engage with their productions and which assets generate the most valuable returns of investment. Drawing upon research conducted with Hoodlum Entertainment, a Brisbane-based transmedia producer, this project involved an initial assessment of the way engagement tends to be understood, why standard web analytics tools are ill-suited to measuring it, how a customised tool could offer solutions, and why this question of measuring engagement is so vital to the future of transmedia as a sustainable industry. Working with data provided by Hoodlum Entertainment and Foxtel Marketing, the outcome of the study was a prototype for a custom data visualisation tool that allowed access, manipulation and presentation of user engagement data, both historic and predictive. The prototyped interfaces demonstrate how the visualization tool would collect and organise data specific to multiplatform projects by aggregating data across a number of platform reporting tools. Such a tool is designed to encompass not only platforms developed by the transmedia producer but also sites developed by fans. This visualisation tool accounted for multiplatform experience projects whose top level is comprised of people, platforms and content. People include characters, actors, audience, distributors and creators. Platforms include television, Facebook and other relevant social networks, literature, cinema and other media that might be included in the multiplatform experience. Content refers to discreet media texts employed within the platform, such as tweet, a You Tube video, a Facebook post, an email, a television episode, etc. Core content is produced by the creators’ multiplatform experiences to advance the narrative, while complimentary content generated by audience members offers further contributions to the experience. Equally important is the timing with which the components of the experience are introduced and how they interact with and impact upon each other. Being able to combine, filter and sort these elements in multiple ways we can better understand the value of certain components of a project. It also offers insights into the relationship between the timing of the release of components and user activity associated with them, which further highlights the efficacy (or, indeed, failure) of assets as catalysts for engagement. In collaboration with Hoodlum we have developed a number of design scenarios experimenting with the ways in which data can be visualised and manipulated to tell a more refined story about the value of user engagement with certain project components and activities. This experimentation will serve as the basis for future research.

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