We playtested our projects in class, and wow! what a valuable day. Thanks to my classmates for all their great questions and feedback! I have so much more to consider.
To prepare for this in-class activity I created a poster board prototype along with a possible outline of responses to physical interactions from my peers. I decided I would play the role of the computer and generate new animations based on their interactions.
Notes from the session:
From this particular presentation, it was not clear that pulse data was being used.
(An initial thought was that this was some type of game.)
What are some ways to make this clear?
Do I place heart imagery around the index finger?
Do program heart beat sounds to play when a hand is positioned correctly?
Do I provide the user with a haptic response?
Do I provide instructions on the board/enclosure?
Do I speak a set of instructions to new participants?
Do I provide a descriptive title?
It was also not clear to some that the pulses were being combined to alter the animations.
Perhaps I should consider this in the design of the enclosure?
Maybe I can draw lines to connect the handprints on either side?
Maybe I can alter the design of the board in some way to reflect a connection, perhaps by presenting a more fluid or organic shape?
Instead of a board-type interface, what if participants put their hands underneath? Or to the side?
What if the enclosure was a box and users held onto the sides and peered inside (another way for participants to mirror and coordinate their actions).
Are the visuals projected or displayed on a screen?
If the visuals are in a box, what about creating a pepper's ghost display?
If the visuals are on a screen, why not use a touch screen to incorporate sliders or buttons?
For most of my testers it felt very natural to place their hands on top the board, however the movement of adjusting the dials with their free hands did not feel related. What about creating paired hand prints on each side--with the pulse sensor for one hand and a flex sensor or circular soft potentiometer for the other hand to adjust the animations.
For animation adjustments, do I provide feedback on the screen to encourage next actions?
If the dials are a specific color, then that color should relate somehow to the new animation.
Why two people? What happens if there is one person?
Some people commented that they liked that it brought two people together.
Some people expressed nervousness about revealing their heart rates to another person, especially if that person was a stranger to them.
However if with a friend, they might make a competition out of their pulse rates.
Why heart beats? Why not buttons instead?
What does it mean to show someone your heart beat?
What are the expectations beyond the displaying of heart beat data?
Is there is a larger question or idea at play here?
If not, then can I get by with mesmerizing visuals?
How can I keep this fun and playful and not an experiment using vital signs?
My additional questions:
How can I keep users' index fingers in position and steady to get an accurate pulse read? Do I build a "garage" for the fingers? Strap them down with rubber bands?
As I move forward, can I figure out a way to plan for additional feedback and multiple iterations (2-3) without having to rebuild the project every time?
Reflections and conclusions:
After further conversations with folks on the floor today, I circled back to my original spark for this idea, which I briefly touch upon in my last post: playing with the synchronization of pulses. The free play with animations shifts to a focused question for participants: can they sync their heart rates? And as a result of doing so, create an entirely new visual animation?