What We Did
Testing on iPhones
We tested our hi-fi Flash prototype with 8 different users on iPhones using the application LiveView. We recorded the test screen, video and audio using ScreenFlow. Each user tested the Join, Create and “My Beacon” interaction.
We conducted one additional field test to learn about the physical experience of joining and creating groups. To do this, we had a user go through the join process and meet two group members at a simulated group start point. We then had the user go through the create process and meet two new members at another simulated group start point. In addition to allowing us to gain critical feedback from the user about the process, we also learned more about the physical logistics of the Join/Create process and discovered that “flashing the badge” really does work.
“[Meeting strangers] is always awkward, and that’s okay.” -From prior field research, U6
Who We Tested
- 9 User Tests (1 Field Test)
- 1 Pilot Test
- 8 females, 1 male
- Because we recognize that safety and gender are related, we decided to focus our user tests on women.
- Mid- to late- 20s
- Graduate students and young professionals
- 4 iPhone/Smart Phone Users
Join Imagine that you are about to walk back home after visiting some friends downtown. You want to try to find out if a walking group is walking near your destination. There are several beacon groups around you. You can search groups and join one of them. After you join a group, you can walk to your destination with your beacon group members. Click the menu button and select “Join” to join a group.
Create Now imagine that you couldn’t find the right group to join and want to start your own walking group that will go near your home. Create your own group and let other people join your group. Click the menu button and select “Create”.
My Beacon This is the page that provides information about your group, badges you collected, profiles of your group members, and if you have already joined an active group. You can also find and show your group badge to recognize each other. Click the menu button and select “Beacon” to see these pages.
What We Found
1. We need to make the overall process easier.
“I didn’t read the text down there. It’s hard to notice, just at first sight, it wasn’t clear.” – U5
We need to help users understand the overall concept quickly and easily. To do this, we have introduced a short animation that quickly helps users map out what will happen when they use the system, from finding a group to walking with them to departing. This will help address users’ expectations for the application and the accompanying real-world experience.
2. Screen Information should be based on user’s mental model.
“I would expect it will just show my current location and my destination, and the path I can take. But this screen shows more than that!” – U2
We need to reduce the amount of information on each screen. Since finding, joining or creating, meeting, walking with and departing from groups is procedural in nature, we need to be sure our application addresses this model of activity.
Users who were experienced iPhone and Smart Phone users were better equipped to understand the map interaction, but we still must be careful to represent business and “other people” in ways that make sense. There was some confusion about the relationship between “me” at the center of the page and “other people.” To address this, we made the dots representing “other people” smaller. Users did understand that after joining a group, they could now see their other group members.
3. Make our trust system more visible. The badge system is supposed to be about trust, but users didn’t immediately “get it.” Users were often delighted when they saw the badge, but didn’t understand its purpose. From our earlier field testing, we learned that a badge can help users feel more secure because it is a unique and specific identifier. Furthermore, users need to understand that collected badges mean successfully completed walks, creating more trustworthy and experienced users.
“Information about how many badges they have and how many miles they walked is important because it shows that they care about this stuff.” – U8
To address this, we added some icons to the user’s profile showing their experience and status as a “power user.” We looked at Couchserfing.com and Yelp.com as case studies to justify adding this feature.
4. The user tests show that this application really could get people thinking differently about walking, or reconsider their unwillingness to walk at night.
“This application would make walking more secure. This would make me consider walking more at night rather than driving somewhere.” – U9
“I think that, at least during spring and summer, I could use this to walk into town instead of being in the mindset of driving everywhere. I think that it would make me reconsider driving.” – U4