User Testing Prototypes

For this user testing I questioned 8 MFADT students. I showed them two ideas about displaying the passage of time. I then explained each prototype and its functionality. I described the context of each prototype and asked which one they would prefer.

PROTOTYPE 1 – Table Center Piece
Basically, I explained this prototype similar to a center piece for a table top and placing items on the outer pods would alter the light animation that played throughout the smaller pods. For the most part, people liked the idea that this prototype of a function and was "useful." They further explained that this was because the user could place items, in which most people said could be glasses, on the outer pods and the center piece could be a holder of some sort, like a buffet tray.

However, one person imagined the prototype to be of a very large scale in which stepping on the different pods could activate the sequences.

Another person also described the prototype in this large scale format and talked of a large playground toy for kids, in which each outer pod could serve as a place for a child. The children could sit on these pads and spin around the larger center circle.

People also enjoyed the social aspects of this prototype in which people could use it as a tray for food at a table, or a center piece at a restaurant. One person mentioned giving this prototype a clock functionality when nothing was on any of the pods.

PROTOTYPE 2 – Memory Animation
I then proceeded to explain my second prototype verbally and utilized my sketches to further explain my concepts. I asked for feedback on this prototype and most liked the idea of memorable patterns that could be programmed by the user and would play back sequentially.

Some suggested that the animation change or cease after a certain period of time to help keep it unique. Almost everyone asked if it was possible to use more buttons.

One person spoke of creating hidden sequences in which the user must press the correct sequence of buttons to reveal the patterns. Another talked of it like an animation tool. Someone suggested that pulsing the lights shows the "passing" of time better, as opposed to on/off, which would be more like a "change of state." They also referred to it as capturing time, in the sense that it showed what you were doing at some point in time, and referenced a memory in an abstract way.

Preference Center Piece – 5, Memory – 3
I then asked which prototype was more interesting to them and which they were drawn to. Five people said the first "center piece" prototype, while the other 3 were more interested in the second "animation" prototype. Everyone who enjoyed the center piece prototype liked the physical, practical and social aspects. They felt that the animation piece was something to do by yourself and they would not sit there and play with it. The people who chose the animation prototype were drawn to the fact that you could program the piece and that it would capture this moment in time.

I then showed them my previous prototype to show them the kind of diffusion I had in mind for either of the two prototypes. Everyone enjoyed the diffused light, especially the white. However, several people disliked the red light because it gave off the "warning" or "stop" vibe and thought it may be too strong.

Layout Preference
Regardless of which prototype they chose, I showed them the following layouts and asked them which design they liked the most. This was just a test to see which shapes and patterns the user was drawn to, for application to either prototype.


I had each person pick one from each row that appealed to them the most, and their favorite of the three that they picked. The results were staggered, as two people chose 2c, and the other six people chose 1b, 1a, 3d, 3a, 1c, and 1d.