Nevertheless, we held on and fought through the stressful week and managed to deliver! (you could be kind and leave a big cheer to all of us.. Well, all of us EXCEPT Alwin)
Software Prototype User Study
Last week we presented our initial software prototype to the council, and they were satisfied with our work. However, we also received some hints from the council that we should really focus on the very essential tasks instead of fancy features which are arguably not necessary (narrow and deep vs. wide and shallow). We realized by then that we had to cut off and limit our ideas into very basic but fully functional features. Thus, we developed our initial software prototype to integrate the Kong’s stomping mechanisms which includes collapsing the building, as well as the engaging screen (“Come closer and play”) and the end-game feedback (high-score screen).
As you should have known by now, we ventured into the neighbor jungles to find some potential monkeys for our software prototype study. There we met with two monkeys sitting under a palm tree, sipping papaya juice in a fancy coconut shell. As we approached them they were really friendly and welcomed us to their humble jungle. We told them about our quest and explained that we needed to do a user-study and that they were the perfect candidate for our initial software prototype study. Having been praised so much, it was easy to make them agree upon anything. So we told them to come to Viktor’s house on Sunday evening at 7pm. We promised them some pineapple- and papaya cookies for their time.
When they arrived, we have already prepared everything. Cookies on the table, grape juices in the fridge, as well as Viktor’s magical machine for the user study. We also prepared some tasks that they should try to accomplish during the study. Obviously, before we start, we introduced ourselves properly and politely asked them to do so as well. They introduced themselves as Hum-Hum and Pom-Pom.
Hum-Hum is very much into chemistry and dreams to receive the Mnobel Prize one day. He doesn’t play video games and is not into IT generally. Pom-Pom on the other hand, is very much into IT and loves to play video games. With that being sorted out, we described to them first about the Think-Aloud method they should perform in order for the study to be successful. While using this method, they should perform three tasks:
- Try to find the correct distance to interact with the Kong application
- Try to recognize their high scores
- Try to recognize the healthy- and harmful objects for the Kong
Having understood this, we started the application and observed their behaviors. The major feedback we concluded during the test are that they are not able to understand why there are people hanging out of the windows of the building. “What are those people doing there in the background?” They also had difficulty recognizing the frying pans, mistaken it for knifes which is naturally too brutal for our non-rated application. “I don’t understand what gives me the plus points?” Apparently they demand a feedback given every time they gain points by doing something specific. “What is this shaking? Am I the one who is causing these earthquakes?” Again, the stomping purpose is not clear to them. On the other hand, they also ask an interesting question: “Will it make a difference if I stomp faster?” Moreover, they had trouble recognizing their points on the screen and they mentioned that the building is way too big in relation to Kong.
At the very least we all had good laughs and good drinks afterwards. Hum-Hum and Pom-Pom thought our application idea was cool and they were excited for the release version.
After saying goodbye to the kind monkeys, we continues our work right away (no time to waste obviously). Based on the feedback, Jörg continue the prototype development and made some changes:
- Exchanged the frying pans into bombs for easier distinction.
- Added the option to “Play Again” at the end of the game.
- Point-system is updated so that the points will not go under 0; stomping will give 15 points, every banana caught will grant 10 points and every bomb-hit will deduce the points by 20.
Naturally there will have to be much more changes to the application prototype such as: implementing better tutorial to introduce user to the role of the people on the building and the role of the Kong which is to collapse the building as well as implementing the dynamic effect of the speed of stomping (e.g., faster stomp -> more shaky building and thus collapses faster).
Certainly this is just an initial user study with our software prototype but it looks quite well accepted with a couple of remarks that we definitely shall sort out before the release version.
Incredibly, perhaps due to exhaustion, the monkeys were not debating anymore about credits. We all agreed upon everyone doing their best to contribute to this project and there is not even a single grape flying across the room this time.
Tired monkeys signing out, peace and bananas!