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Portland, OR

A Fourth Act is an interdisciplinary collective of storytellers, facilitators, researchers, designers and technologists committed to delivering meaningful stories. Our roots are in storytelling and journalism. Together we have unprecedented reach to a diversely rich network of fellow collaborators throughout the storytelling fields of journalism, media, technology and art, as well as researchers in the professions and academia.

Harvis Overview


Visualizing the knowledge we harvest from an engaged community

Here's a 5-minute walk-through explaining how we used Harvis at several screenings of the documentary film American Promise and how it can help you make deeper connections with your community.

Harvis is a mobile web application that empowers individuals to share their perspectives and be active participants in collective action-oriented dialogue by capturing their real-time emotional responses to recorded or live-media..

A web-based administrator’s dashboard visualizes the aggregated responses filtered by demographic information. By using HARVIS, storytellers and facilitators can immediately and effectively surface the issues most important to the community and mine hidden stories in post-screening discussions. This mobile web tool has the potential to enable participants to co-create knowledge and measure long-lasting positive impact.


  1. Audience members fill out a brief questionnaire to provide context to their engagement with the film or presentation.
  2. As the film plays, audience members sweep the surface of their mobile device to express their responses.
  3. At purposeful and discrete moments, the film is temporarily paused to allow audience members to answer targeted questions in context to the issue presented in the current scene.
  4. At the end of the film, an interactive visualization of the aggregated responses filtered by pre-determined themes and submitted demographic information is used to facilitate a conversation.


Still with us? Great. It means you see the potential of Harvis to empower audiences into becoming a community.

To put some context to the video above, it might help to know that this walk-through is a condensed version of Andrew's presentation, Don't Build Audiences, Build Community, at the TriBeCa Film Institute's Interactive Day which was on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in New York City. An edited video of my presentation is on TFI's Vimeo.

Photo by Ivar Vong

Photo by Ivar Vong

We conducted a live demonstration of the mobile web application where audience members used Harvis to respond to the presentation. We asked the audience to make these gestures:

  • "Swipe up at any time when you feel that what I’m saying can directly help you and your role in the community. In other words, as I’m talking swipe up if you’re seeing a feature in Harvis that you like and can use in your work."
  • "Swipe down at any time when you are inspired to make a suggestion to our approach."

Below is a screen shot of the real-time engagement graphic during our live demo of which we received 151 unique users, 1391 gestures and 109 comments. 

Resulting engagement graphic from the live demonstration of Harvis.

Administrators can access an interactive version of this visualization to quickly mine information. For example, other than the “instructions” peak, at 2:30, where we asked everyone to test the swipe gestures, the top four engagement moments highlighted these features:

  1. Real-time engagement graphic
  2. Analyzing shifts over time
  3. Filtering the real-time engagement graphic by survey results
  4. Share immediate poll results and comments 

Let us know how we can help you enable members of your community to co-create knowledge and measure long-lasting positive impact. Thank you.

© A Fourth Act, LLC 2014