Week 11 Practicum; Scalar

Here is the link to my scalar project book: http://scalar.cdla.oxycreates.org/joycelook/

Compared to the other platforms introduced throughout the semester, Scalar is the most exciting and conflicting for me thus far. While on the one hand, I was able to connect posts and ideas in a way I could never imagine. On the other hand, Scalar’s learning curve is just too darn high at times. The non-intuitive loops I needed to take to find out how to accomplish a simple task was somewhat ridiculous. However, once I did manage to find out how to accomplish that task, the look and feel of my Scalar book felt right (despite the frustration from earlier).

I think Scalar’s main benefit is the aesthetic overlay of the finished project. It avoids the usual formats and themes found on platforms like WordPress. This gives the Scalar project its specific look for the viewer. It caught my eye as something new and different, especially with the ability to overlap and connect themes and ideas between each page and category. Likewise, the ability to visualize the content and its relation to other pieces of content on the Scalar project reminds me of Voyant tools’ visual representation of information. Both are fun and interactive, inviting both the user and creator to engage with the platform’s information in a way only possible on these internet platforms.

However, I really think Scalar is extremely flawed due to the massive learning curve. To fully maximize Scalar’s potential, one needs to spend countless hours just working and failing for some of the more straightforward tasks. Unlike Esri Storymaps, which provides a decent overlay for the user to visualize and input information, Scalar combines most of the information into a mostly unorganized menu. I can see how this can be beneficial, especially in regards to the overlap of information only possible on Scalar. But the organization of the media and the entries itself need to take a cue from Zotero. Scalar needs to revamp its presentation of information to allow a more organized feel and flow for its users. Then again, it was created by USC…

For larger projects, I could see myself using Scalar to emphasize more linear and contained pieces of information that somehow correlate with each other in the long run. The platform’s ability to present and overlap information is outstanding and really shows that Scalar was designed towards a specific intention and look. The finalized view of a Scalar book even shows the creator’s engagement and devotion to presenting that information in such a nuanced way.