Human-sounding Seonaid is better than the real thing

19th September 2003 at 01:00
Want a sneak preview of the revamped Junior Scottish Executive website? Well, come on down to the SETT show.

On Thursday, Stephanie Baldwin of the Scottish Executive's education department will give a talk on the Junior Executive website and visitors to the show will be able to hear the new voice of Seonaid, the site's host.

Although the voice of Seonaid (pronounced Shona) is largely the same, Ms Baldwin says people will notice a difference. "The human intonation is superb. It's almost like having a real life person in front of you."

Ms Baldwin will interact with Seonaid, the world's first vitual character on a government website, during her talk about the site's redevelopment.

The website overhaul is set to go online later this year. Though the changes will not be radical, it will target different subjects and a slightly younger audience.

These changes, outlined in the seminar, are based on extensive research by the Scottish Executive.

"The results show children of a certain age think it's really uncool to look at government education sites," says Ms Baldwin. "So we have concluded that certain types of information would be better left to other departments or charities.

"We are looking at areas such as citizenship in education and how we can tie this in with schools teaching citizenship as part of the curriculum. We want to make it fun and interesting."

Although the seminar is featured in the secondary school listing, there will be an overlap with other age groups.

The seminar will also cover the idea of video-messaging as a way of reaching an older audience.

"We're looking at how you deal with the older age group," adds Ms Baldwin.

"Children aged over 14 want to be spoken to as adults.

"We are about to kick off our video-messaging pilot later this month and this will be mentioned in the seminar - how we are examining new methods of communication embraced by young people."

Incidentally, Seonaid stands for Scottish Executive Online News And Information Distribution.

SETT

Stephanie Baldwin will talk and invite you to Meet Seonaid - the Virtual Presenter on Thursday at 9.30am.There will be a demonstration of the site at the NGfl in Action stand on Thursday at 1.45pm and on Friday at 2.30pm

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