First user test / by Ernie Gerardo

I believe that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way.

Sing it, Whitney.

Children aren't just the future, they are also my target audience.  Imagine how thrilled I was to get a group of students from the Brooklyn Lab Charter School to come in and test my rough build of Better With You.

The age group was middle school-ranged (between 10 and 13), which is just about the target range.  After the kids had a blast exploring the interactions, I asked them two simple questions:

What did you like and not like about this thing?

If you had to change anything about it, what would it be?

The kids were very vocal about how they felt.  Here are, verbatim, some of their responses:

"Can I have one?"

"Do you sell them?"

"Is there an app for this?"

"How do you prevent it from electrocuting you?"

"I love everything!"

"I want one in my house."

A few key takeaways from this first test:

  • The piece needs to be physically flexible so kids of different heights can access the pads.  Perhaps I'll have to construct individual touch units that can be adjusted according to the user's height.
  • They were big on the concept of visual feedback, since the installation as it stands doesn't have a way of indicating that the interaction was successful except for the sound.  I'm now currently looking into LED strips to line the outside of touch pads, as well as potential use for the Arduino controller that's just sitting in my apartment.
  • I have to consider the possibility of making a version of this that I can sell, sort of a "make your own" kit.  However, since it relies on a piece of equipment that's already available in retail outlets, I think I'll have to talk to the maker of the Makey Makey about licensing the board to be included as part of the kit.  But that's a thought for the future depending on the success of the piece.

So that's it for now, but I'll have to reiterate, then test it again, so look out for version 5 (I think that's where we're at for now).