Latest prototype as of 2012-01-30

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Prototype 2012-01-30

latest additions to the prototype include:

  • icon menu following the user
  • multiplayer tracking support
  • improved detection of active/inactive users
  • guitar visualization following the user's movements + semi transparancy
  • bigger buttons
  • new, prettier animation for menu loading

Think Aloud study

Since our prototype at this stage is not really able to perform our standard scenarios, we will give the user some basic tasks to evaluate the usability of the system so far.

The setup of the study was in the afternoon at a desk in an apartment. For recording the user's reactions and comments i used a pen and paper.

These were the tasks given to the user in written form:

  • Walk in front of the Kinect camera
  • Choose the drums as instrument
  • Now swith to the guitar instrument
  • Play some chords on the guitar

The user was female and 21 years old. Experience with natural interfaces is minimal, musical experience with real instruments is medium.

  • No major issues were discovered at this stage, except the user was unsure if she had selected the right instrument. This was because of the picture of the drums not showing up at all. (Will be fixed in the next iteration)
  • Possible solutions for the issues: Fixing the icons.
  • Other observations: preferred interaction for using the guitar was holding left hand still and moving right hand up and down. The buttons were enlarged since last iteration and were now pretty easy to hit for the user. This shows that this issue is resolved.


The first iteration of hi-fi prototyping supports some of our scenarios, but it has no functionality yet.
In the following images you can see that the prototype currently supports one user making menu choices for the game.

Pedestrian walking by
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Pedestrian walks by, gets a "head menu"
User starts interacting
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Pedestrian notices the menu, starts interacting.
Menu with timer
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Hold on a menu choice to pick an instrument.
Instrument chosen
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Instrument is now active, the user can start rocking.

As you can see in the third image, the menu choice will expand during the time you hold your hand there. After holding some second, the choice is executed. The graphics of this loading the choice will probably change in the next iteration, but it is meant to give the user some feedback as to what is happening and for how long he/she has to keep a hand on the choice. This is accorning to Nielsen's first principle: Visibility of system status.

Here we go against Norman's principle of designing for error. There is in the current prototype no undo action, nor going back to the first menu. This means that as soon as you have chosen an instrument you cannot change. We might consider revising this design.

Paper Prototype

In human–computer interaction, paper prototyping is a widely used method in the user-centered design process, a process that helps developers to create software that meets the user's expectations and needs - in this case, especially for designing and testing user interfaces. It is throwaway prototyping and involves creating rough, even hand-sketched, drawings of an interface to use as prototypes, or models, of a design. While paper prototyping seems simple, this method of usability testing can provide a great deal of useful feedback which will result in the design of better products. This is supported by many usability professionals.

We tried this concept on our project Air BEnd. All drafts are combined in the following movie:

After an evaluation we changed our prototyp. Now everybody can start rocking without asking the first player to join the game.

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