Re: Introduction/Interactive Web Dance

Richard Lord (
Tue, 10 Jun 97 01:15:28 +0100


You asked for some feedback so here goes:

I've only looked at the web dance piece ("3E") since that's the bit that
interests me most. Some points:

I like the initial screen. It interests me with its sense of
technological complexity mixed with a little grungy chaos. However,
beyond this point I felt cheated. The rest of the dance was not as good
as this screen and your message led me to expect.

I waited for the animated gifs to load only to find they were such low
quality and frame rate that I could see very little of the extremely
small sample of movement they tried to show. Mark makes the point that
animated gifs are more compatible than other formats such as quicktime
and realvideo. They are also, unfortunately, the most low quality/high
bandwidth method for presenting video footage over the web. Hardly the
best choice for a "Dance for Limited Space and Bandwidth".

In addition, loading a number of animated gifs on one page can cause
unexpected memory problems for some browsers (the browser's fault,
admittedly) and this site crashed my copy of Netscape 3.02 for Mac twice
before I got to see it properly.

In index1.html, the sequence of messages in the top left corner is
independent of a users actions and hence potentially very misleading. You
don't know what a user will do next so don't anticipate messages to send.
It's also easy to accidentally stop this sequence so the "next" message
(the link to the next page) never appears and the user can't move on.

Also, this page doesn't fit on a standard 14" or 15" mac screen (it's a
bit of a squeeze to fit it on a 17" screen). All the video gets chopped
of horizontally about half way down.

In next.html the level of interactivity is much less than I was led to
believe. The order of the video snippets is not controlled - they run in
a predetermined sequence and one merely chooses where in that sequence to

The video snippets are too short (the total duration for all four
combined is about 13 seconds) and the quality too low for me to really
get anything from them.

David is right about the net not being high tech. It's still based on
technology devised in the sixties and is far from being the ideal medium
for presenting multimedia. The same could be said for HTML, a language
designed for sharing information not presenting multimedia or for
marketing products or corporate identities. Hopefully future developments
will improve this situation but in the meantime we work with what we have.

I wonder what Noah Stollman was really trying to create with this dance.
If it is, as claimed, a web dance then I consider it a total failure by
someone who doesn't understand the medium (the web) or the technology
(the internet, HTML, etc.) with which she is working. If it is a sketch
of an experimental idea by someone trying to figure out how this new
medium works then it's a start with some promise and many problems. Keep
working on it.

Richard Lord
Choreographer and web designer/programmer