associated blog to the course mobile and physical interaction at tu berlin

Month: January, 2014

Week 8 – Testing Prototype with Think Aloud Method

This week we were supposed to test our software prototype with real users. Before we actually did that, we further improved our prototype regarding a better background (more easy to discriminate bubbles and background), several hints for the user to make the game much easier to use (e.g. correct distance to the camera) and understand (e.g. countdown timer).

As learned in the lecture we used the Think Aloud method for our user tests. The idea is that a user gets some tasks he has to try to achieve and during that process he is supposed to comment loudly on what they are thinking regarding the state (What they think is happening?), the goals (What they try to achieve?) and their actions (Why they are doing something specific?). We introduced the method by explaining it to them and giving them the task to make a black coffee at a coffee machine, just to get a feel for it and to get them a coffee to light up their mood 😉

Test Setup
Our test setup was the following. We used a conference room in the TEL building that has a particular big television (see photos below). We asked for some personal information (Gender, Age, Nationality, Profession, Prior Experience) and introduced our method as mentioned above. We recorded their thoughts with a smartphone and took notes while they were playing our game.

1. Reach a selection menu
2. Play “Against The Time”

Test Protocols:
Person 1
Gender: Male
Nationality: German
Profession: Student
Major: IT
Age: 25
Experienced with application area. (Was playing with Kinect before – didn’t like it too much though.)
Major Issues:
– Bubble colors need higher contrast – too easily mismatched –> Priority: High
– Restrict Bubble Positions (when feet are red, then red bubbles should be in lower part of the game) –> Priority: Low
– Player Bug: Sometimes 2 player scores are displayed, which was quite irritating for the user (see pictures below) –> Priority: Medium

Person 2
Gender: Female
Nationality: Spanish
Profession: Teacher
Age: 24
No Experience with application area.
Major Issues:
– Tempting Bubble: Further hint needed, that hand should go to bubble

Possible Solutions:
– Better colors according to Human Factors concepts, maybe higher opacity, bubble position detection (no overlays) (not applying yet)
– Restrict bubble positions (not applying yet)
– Player Bug: Restrict player number in certain action screens (do not add everyone)
– Tempting Bubble: hint text or pointer (so that it’s clear)

At the end some photos of our test setup and how the game is looking right now. We think that we’re on a good way, although some details have to be improved as stated above. A proper highscore screen where the user can take a photo of himself is still missing, but we’re working on it 😉
IMG_20140117_151803 IMG_20140117_151808 IMG_20140117_151812 IMG_20140117_151817 IMG_20140117_151828 IMG_20140117_152008


Week 7 – Software Prototype

During the Christmas break we had to start with the real work – coding a prototype. We concentrated on the “initial tempting bubble”, the gameplay and an easy extendable and dynamic code structure (don’t worry – we didn’t spent too much time on the code structure – it’s a prototype after all). After popping the tempting bubble, the game starts. The “tempting bubble” does not move yet and doesn’t look very fancy, but it is a good start and easy to modify and enhance from now on. The game itself you can already play in quite a sophisticated way. You start with one type of bubble respectively one color. To pop the bubbles you can use your hands and feet which have the same color as all the bubbles in the beginning. Originally we wanted to use pictures of colored comic-like limbs, but then it would have been quite complicated to match the orientation of the picture hands and feet with the actual hands and feet so we decided to change that to simplistic circles, which have a higher opacity than the corresponding bubbles. Therefore the user can still make the connection between the limb and the bubble. Right now, the user gets 10 points for every bubble he popped, although the hint for the player (like the gained points appearing where the bubble was popped) is still missing. Also the game will get more serious every 15 seconds. Serious means that the user gets a new color to pop bubbles with and new bubbles in that color will be generated accordingly. Until now there is no choice menu or game ending highscore screen, but these are very easy to add now, with the current code structure. The following screens show a little bit of the “tempting bubble” and the gameplay.