Week 1

Your prototypes (photos and descriptions, before and after the evaluation)

Initial prototype — I was not totally satisfied with the initial prototype – I was shooting for a simplified version of a music-player application, without over-cluttered features, but my design ended up being pretty sloppy, having some really unclear functions as I was not decided on what features to implement. 

Refined prototype — During the refining process, the home-page layout was changed a bit, especially the collapsable music-player, as in the initial prototype it occupied too much screen space. The music player button layout was changed as well in order to prevent accidental mis-clicks that were encountered in the testing process. Minor tweaks were made as well to improve the efficiency of the app.

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Refined prototype — The watch interface didn’t change a lot apart from the search page, which now offers the option to scroll through songs as well, as only having a voice search option was not efficient. 

Explanation of how the prototypes were evaluated. Discuss if there were any problems in conducting the test.

In order to evaluate the paper prototype, a clickable version of it was quickly compiled using Marvel App during the class, after which I had different users try out the prototype and check out all the existing features. Besides the limitations of Marvel, the testing process went smooth and helped me gather insights about what elements of my design were subject to change.

One problem that some users hit was the fact that some of the pages that they were trying to access didn’t exist, which resulted in confusion – for example, I did not have an Artist page or an Album page, only a Now Playing page, so when the user tried to click on any song other than the currently playing one, the application did not allow them to.

Another problem I have discovered with my initial prototype’s button placement was not the best one I could have went with, as they were relatively close to each other and besides causing confusion, it also caused plenty of mis-clicks. 

The findings from the evaluation by a fellow student and how you could use them to refine the prototypes.

  • Homepage is too cluttered
    • The music controls should not be visible on the homepage at all times.
      • (remove permanent controls from homepage, transform them into a slider that pops up, which includes both album artwork and controls)

 

  • Love function is confusing
    • (there isn’t a “love” button, only an add to playlist button)
      • (add “add to favourites” button)

 

  • Voice search isn’t always possible.
    • Voice search shouldn’t be the ONLY way to search. (for the watch app)
      • (add another way of searching – e.x. slider with letters )

 

  • “Add to playlist” button is too close to play button.
    • Button can be misclicked.
      • (change position of secondary controls so they’re not directly next to the primary music controls)
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Week 2

Gestures:

PLAY – Palm to fist motion. PAUSE – Fist to palm motion.

VOL UP – Slide palm facing up. VOL DN – Slide palm facing below. MUTE – “O” Shape.

FORWARD – Slide right with palm. BACKWARDS – Slide left with palm.

Sounds (can be heard while the gestures play):

Besides the volume sounds, all other sounds were me interacting with different object (pen, coins, lighter, cup of coffee, etc.) above my dining table and lightly hitting the table or rolling said object on the table. All the sounds were imported into Audacity and edited to match the action the user is performing while the sound plays. For example, the sounds for volume are pitched so they start low and end up high (vol up) or the other way around (vol dn.). That sound was actually me scrolling through the dial wheel on my camera.

Reflection:

For my Initial Prototypes, I sketched out the plan on a notebook which contained raw drawings of my gestures and ideas for sounds. Most of the gestures I had picked in the beginning made it to the final cut of the in initial prototype, while all my sound ideas were replaced by other ideas, as most of them didn’t sound right or did not match the context. Some serious brainstorming was needed in order to come up with the sounds, which was in my opinion the hardest part.

For the evaluation, my user was asked to watch the video above and after it’s done, react and comment on the gestures and come up with possible improvements. My user was a close friend (classmate), and although the results may have been influenced by our friendship, the feedback received from him was unexpectedly impressive for my first time designing sounds and gestures. The gestures he understood clearly but he came up with the improvement that for rewinding and forwarding, it could have been left hand swipe left (backwards) and right hand swipe right (forwards).

While discussing the sounds used, the biggest remark and most frequent one was that most sounds were too basic, although I have to agree with that, the sound-creating part of the process I found tricky to ideate on. The creation process of the sounds was especially hard for someone with no prior knowledge of sound-recording and editing, and while my user mentioned the fact that “more positive synthetic sounds” I had no idea how to come up with such sounds using only household sounds.

Reflection (after Evaluation)

After evaluating the product’s sounds and gestures with a user, I decided a few changes could be made in order to make the product more appealing sound-wise and gesture-wise.

When discussing sounds, using another application, a more complex sound recording app, would sure come into hand, as using sound effects on my recordings would make them sound more appealing. General feedback from the test also suggested making sure all sounds can be distinguished one from another, as sometimes they were really similar, which caused confusion at times for the user.

Making the gestures distinguishable one from another was also an essential piece of feedback I received which could be used to refine the gestures, as for example forward and backward could have been changed with a gesture done with a different limb (i.e. right vs. left arm).

Conclusion:

In conclusion, using sound libraries would’ve been the easy way out in the case of sounds, but recording your own sounds makes you think about the meaning of a certain sound and makes you really think outside the box while planning you app. Thinking of gestures that would work with your app and would be easy enough for the user to remember and recall makes you think forward to the future, where everyone will be controlling their technology with gestures and voice commands.

I think starting to experience testing for sound and motion was a really fun assignment that helped explore new fields in which we had previous knowledge, and although the sound recording part didn’t go as planned, I think the project had a positive influence on my experience with prototyping, as I learned new ways to prototype that I’m sure I’ll use in the future. Using sound libraries would’ve been the easy way out in this case, but recording your own sounds makes you think about the meaning of a certain sound and makes you really think outside the box while planning you app.