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Hooray

mobile design, Tangible, Arduino, experience design

Team of Four
August. 2014 - December. 2014
Role: UX Designer

Overivew

Hooray is a wearable technology product, consisting of two parts: an Android application and a bracelet. It facilitates people who know nothing about American football to understand and engage in football games, so that they do not need to be an expert to HOORAY in the game. Hooray also contributes to users' learning about game rules. They may keep up with their learning pace while enjoying the immersive experience during the match.

User Research

50 Brief Interviews

On a GT game day, we approached totally 50 game watchers near Tech Green and Bobby Dodd Stadium and started conversations with them. 
Before the match, we asked general questions like when and how they booked tickets, how they came to campus, where they parked, how far they walked to get here, how they were spending their time before the game, whether it was their first time to GT game, the biggest concern or problem they had up to the point, etc. During the match, We observed facilities available inside the stadium. We asked people what they thought were going on in the game, if they found finding food and restrooms easy, what were the ways they used to meet up with friends. After the game, even though people were in hurry leaving, we managed to talk to some about how they were planning to go back, what were their post-match plans, if there was anything they thought should be improved.

38 Online Survey Responses

After having identified various loopholes in the system, we designed an online survey, including 17 multiple choice questions, to obtain and analyze user requirements. Totally 38 responses were collected.

Project Scope

Problem Spaces

The two studies revealed five major problem spaces: 1) not understanding what happened in the field, 2) not knowing the location of the Stadium, 3) taking too long to find the seats , 4) confusing ticket purchasing process, and 5) having trouble meeting families and friends inside the stadium. We drew an Experience Map (as below), dividing all five tasks chronologically. Then, we did analysis for each problem the participants had encountered during the game watching experience.

Hooray Experience Map

We noticed that these game watchers shared many common characteristics. They were willing to try new stuff, happy to spend time with friends and families, expecting instructions that could help with problems they had, like parking, finding the entrance and seats, buying food and drinks, etc. However, these people were also such a diversified community. They were of a large range of ages, came to campus in groups or individually via different transportations. They were not necessarily GT students or alumni, not necessarily familiar with the GT campus. And most surprisingly, many of them were not at all football experts.

An critical implication for the problem space built upon our studies was that when game watchers encountered situations that they were not familiar with, the easiest way they could think of was often times following/imitating someone else. People find it easy to follow others to get to the stadium if they don't know how; people choose to cheer after other audiences if they don't understand the game rules, such as such.

Refined Scope

Our designs aimed at enhancing the football game experience of beginner watchers by helping them understanding game rules and/or leading them in cheering for their team. We were going to design a system to improve and enrich their overall game watching experience.

Target Users

Therefore, our target users are beginner watchers of American football who desire to understand game rules better and look forward for immersive experience while watching football game in the stadium.

Design Alternatives

Brainstorming

Fun fact about the team: none of us knew much about football prior to doing the project. In our first ideation session, four of us sat with a super football fan (a fellow classmate), who did a brief introduction to football game rules to us. Then, we brainstormed on ideas and drew them out on paper during our brainstorming sessions.

Here are the three awesome ideas we settled on after brainstorming that I put into texts.

  • Hooray bracelet reacts to user's heartbeat frequency. It vibrates and lights up if it senses sudden faster heartbeats of some users. When the bracelet vibrates, beginner watchers would know it's time to cheer.
  • Football Master Kit includes game rule cards that are available in both print and digital versions. Users can easily carry them around and learn about or look up football game rules.
  • Wild Cup is not only a normal drinking cup. It uses its cup interface to display real time information updates about what's happening in the field. The embedded social in the cups allows users clinking their Wild Cups to add Facebook friends.

Design Criteria

Following the brainstorming sessions, we concluded several critical matters need special attention during the product design process:

  • The design should in some ways leverage and assemble real-time information from the on-going match or audiences to produce augmented useful functionalities to beginner game watchers.
  • In order to make sure the accuracy of information assembled during the match, there should be enough input channels and/or technical supports to perceive and translate information.
  • The design should act as a supplement of the match for users, instead of distracting the beginners from concentrating on the on-going game. Any functionalities of the design should be easy to perceive and understand. No user would want to spend too much time on a product that require them “thinking” about how to use. However, the design should neither be monotonous so the users would easily lose interests.
  • The design should be portable, with reasonable physical size and weight, so that the users won’t feel burdensome when carrying it around.

Design Decisions

Our designs aimed at enhancing the football game experience of beginner watchers by helping them understanding game rules and/or leading them in cheering for their team. We talked to many fellow classmates about our 3 ideas. Feedbacks from peers were extremely useful. Their appreciations and critiques helped us get a better understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of our designs and even reasonable suggestions for improvements. The three design alternatives contain greatly distinctive features, but are all supported by real­time data assembling and perceiving strategies.

As a result, we decided to combine the first two ideas for our product and kept the name "Hooray". The two ideas has been changed slightly to fit each other. Hooray consists of two parts: a Android application and a bracelet. The app serves as a real-time tutor during the game. It "listens" to the live commentary and react to keywords by automatically creates new flashcards and pops the cards up on smartphones to provide users with updates at every critical moment during the game and concise explanation of what's happening. The bracelet, as another part of the system, is used for information transferring among game watchers to promote immersive experience. The bracelet can vibrate and change color. Vibrations happens at every critical moments. And color changes indicate what the critical moments are about, for example when there is a touchdown, the bracelet will turn to yellow.

System Prototype

Android Mobile UI

The mobile application serves as a real-time tutor during the football game. At every critical moment during the game, the app will "create" new flashcards that include visual and textual information and display them to the users to provide concise explanations. The flashcard creation and display is an automatic process. A new flashcard will be added to the end of the queue of other flashcards. The user will still be able to review any of the previous cards at a later time by sliding the screen.

Bracelet

The bracelet is an wearable computing device for information transfer during game watching to promote immersive experience. In coordination with the mobile app, the bracelet will vibrate at every critical moment in the game to alert the user something important happened and make corresponding color change based on the situation.

System Interaction Architecture

Whenever the Android application reads a keyword in the commentary lines, it will send information to the bracelet via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth signal transfer makes it possible for the Arduino implementation attached to the bracelet know when to vibrate and change colors corresponding to different situations. Generally speaking, the app contributes to users' understanding of the on-going game. Bracelet alerts the users and serves as a cheering tool. Combination of both will provide the users with the best experience engaging in the football game.

Evaluation

IRB Approval

Each team member completed the required IRB CITI training courses; and we submitted our IRB protocol application for board review at the beginning of the project. The IRB protocol has been approved before the team started conducting evaluations of the prototype.

Pilot Study

Prior to the usability testing, we asked peers to critique the design and also did a pilot test of the prototype within the team to construct an initial picture of the system’s validity and reliability. Even though we are extremely familiar with the prototype, any judgment from the team would very likely be biased; but due to the fact that none of us knew much about football, we were also ideal users of the product. In the Pilot Study, the team did a cognitive walkthrough and several modifications were made to have the prototype ready for user testings.

One issue been addressed in the pilot testing was that without basic knowledge, such as field setting and team formation, we took much longer time to learn what was happening on the field relying merely on the flashcards popping up during the game. Therefore, we added a pre­-match warm up feature. The feature contained several pre­set flashcards explaining the basic settings and rules of football game, so that the users could prepared the basic knowledge of the football, such as field settings, team formation, etc., before the game started.

Usability Testing

Thereafter, we conducted five more rigorous usability tests based on five individual participants, during which they were asked to complete a pre­-determined set of tasks, critique the prototype, fill out questionnaires and complete an interview.

Participants
Five participants are representative as they knew almost nothing about football prior to their usability sessions. The usability tests were taken place in a quiet room, with simulated football match environment setting (football game video was on and snacks and drinks available) where participants could easily focus on tasks performed and the team could observe near subjects.

Stage 1 - Preparation
Each participant had been briefly introduced to the product features before they test it. If the product were put on to the market one day, these introduction information would be provided as product descriptions on packaging. The team also explicitly described the procedures, compensations, rights, etc. on the consent form to all participants and asked them to sign the forms.

Stage 2 - Environment Simulated Game Watch
Each participant at a time was placed at a laptop, and was asked to place the bracelet on to wrist. They were allowed to play with the mobile app on a test phone for 10 minutes before the actual testing began, so they could take a look at the warm up feature. Then, each participant was asked to watch a 12 ­minute football match video clip with the prototype (bracelet and mobile app). During the 12 minutes, he or she was supposed to try to understand to the maximum amount and engage in the game by utilizing the prototype.

Both before and after the simulated game, participants were asked to fill out questionnaires, in which they rated from 1 to 5 how much they understand about the same 5 critical events that would be/had been occurred in the video clip. By comparing the before-and-after ratings, we could learn how much they learnt from the prototype system.

We also kept records of several other observational data: 1) how many times in total the participants looked into the mobile app indicating the distraction level of the app, and 2) what exact time and how long each time the participants spent reading the flashcards reflecting the effectiveness of the flashcard explanation as a form to help users learn new concepts.

Stage 3 - Semi-structured Interview
During the interview, each participant was first asked to talk freely about their thoughts using the prototype. Then, we asked 7 prepared questions, such as if they'd been to GT football games, how they were getting themselves involved, and how they thought our system prototype could do to help with the process. The questions also asked about how well the prototype described its functionalities, etc.

Quantitative and Qualitative Feedbacks

Observation Study
Qualitative data were collected by observing participants' facial expressions. Generally, participant looked at mobile screen a lot at the beginning. However, particularly after 7 or 8 minutes, they became more engaged in the game and started reacting to events in the game, because at the time, most of the keywords had already popped up for at least one time.

We found that on average each participant checked 11.6 times on the flashcards and spent about 35.5 seconds each time reading. Simply multiplying the two number gives us the total time a user tends to spent reading the flashcards during 12-minute game. The result shows that understanding the key concepts requires a rather long reading time of the flashcards.

Questionnaires Comparison
Comparison results indicated significant improvements on understanding about the keywords, as shown in the chart on the right. The prototype contributed to participants' learning of new concepts effectively.

Interview Feedback
Participants provided very positive feedbacks on how the flashcards had contributed to their learning during the game. They preferred the "on-the-go" learning mechanism rather than being told to read rules from a book. One issue had been brought up in the interviews was that the flashcards switched too fast in speed and the wording on the flashcards was quite overwhelming.

The Findings & Future Improvements

The design solution provides effective affordance and obtains smooth learning curve. As concluded from the pre/post questionnaire comparisons, all of the participants gained sufficient knowledge of each keyword. This represents the effectiveness of the prototype and adds credibility to the basic design concept.

The usability testings also reflected several problems existing in the system. Due to time constraints, the team didn't manage to go through further iterative design process. However, future improvements of the system should first focus on the findings as listed below:

  • Football game watchers desire hand­-free experiences. They are not willing to hold their phones at all times or stick with reading heavy texts on mobile screens. Users would want to have overall control of the product rather than being forced to read the flashcards one after another.
  • Individual differences require high flexibility of the duration and frequency of reading the content on the flashcards. Participants want to make their own decision of when and how to read, including whether they are gonna read or not; how much they should read; how many times they review on the same card, etc.
  • It was also reflected from the interview that in real game, the feedback from the prototype will very likely be delayed. Our solution was to read the live commentary to detect keywords. The delay could be avoided if better solutions were implemented in the future.
  • Future improvements should keep seeking options other than flashcards that could provide information faster and more efficiently.