Digital Agency Stitch Media talk about their work on interactive multimedia show ‘Manimals’

A distinctive part of early 21st century dating, dating apps have shaped how we interact, connect and meet up with prospective partners in the digital era. Tapping into this phenomenon in her debut show Manimals, game producer Michelle Hudson explores dating, loneliness and the struggle to connect within our digital age. Due to embark on a Canadian digital tour following the show’s UK showing, Manimals‘ app developer Sonya Suraci of Stitch Media tells us more about the creation of the Manimals dating app!

You’ve supported game producer Michelle Hudson’s debut show Manimals with the development of a specially made dating app. What was involved in the initial/pre-design stage of the app?

Michelle actually made this amazing proof of concept video very early on, and that’s how our team was introduced to the project! Having an impressive game design background herself, Michelle had a fairly complete picture of how the app should look and work from the audience point of view, but it definitely took a few brainstorming sessions with our technical team to finesse some of the stage manager controls, involving the leaderboard and scoring process.

From pre-designing, how were you able to move forward and design the app?

Once we had a really clear picture of the app’s functionality both for the audience and stage manager, and how they would work together, the design process was really fun! Michelle knew she wanted to go bright and bold, and with the absurdity of some of the dating photos Michelle provided, our talented art director, Jeff, knew how to bring it all together into something fun and zany, while staying within the realm of the familiar dating apps we all know.

What was involved in the development stage of the process?

Development involved many rounds of testing both internally to Stitch and with Michelle and her production team! It definitely took a few tries to fine-tune some of the smaller details including the swiping behaviour, the use of cookies to avoid asking audience members to log in, the pop-ups, and the scoring! In one absolutely critical discussion, we had to decide whether “dead” animals, such as a caught fish or lobster, counted as a “manimal” or not!

How were you able to provide support for the app afterwards?

After the first shows in the UK we did continue to tweak wording and correct some small usability issues to maximise the audience experience for Michelle’s show. We definitely don’t want audience members to get hung up on a small technical detail!

Were there any challenging aspects of bringing the app to life?

We got really close and personal with a lot of very strange looking men!

Have you learned anything new from the project?

Now that we know that the world is onto us, we are going to switch to posing with trees and small shrubs in our dating app profile pictures! Cat pictures begone!

How do you envision digital storytelling moving forward?

Our company’s mantra is to tell stories using new technology, so this type of digital storytelling is our bread and butter! It’s been thrilling to work with Michelle’s vision for Manimals, and we are excited to explore other opportunities, afforded by COVID-19 or not, for integrating meaningful digital experiences into formerly analog forms of storytelling!

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

To find out more about Stitch Media’s work, visit here…

To read our interview with game producer Michelle Hudson, visit here…

To read our interview with game dramaturg Amy Strike, visit here…

For the Manimals review, visit here…


Written by Theatrefullstop