Prototyping

HOW TO BUILD UP A LIGHT BEHAVIOUR GRAMMAR?

Along with the product and theoretical research,  I’m conducting user tests to understand if it is possible to create a basic light behaviour grammar.

We are unusually effective at using light to communicate and discern information.

I’ll use the first Dubmate prototypes (http://dkds.ciid.dk/py/tangible-user-interface/projects/dubmate/) to run the first turn of tests. Dubmate is a portable device, basically an evolution of the traditional USB stick, designed to share files through a tangible user interface (TUI) avoiding the use of computers. The interface is based on the use of gesture and lights/colours.

Light behaviours to test in the given context:
– connected/disconnected
– transferring (in 2 directions)
– transfer complete
– transfer error

light shape

Peggy 2 RGB

What could impact the perception of light behaviour?
*culture background
*knowledge about technology
*age range

I’ll start with 10/8 people to, after some iterations, end up with 3/4 final users. The outcome can be a refinement of the Dubmate project or the initial design of a light grammar that can be applied to other devices.

p10305822

Thanks to Christine Truc Modica

Dubmate was developed at CIID with Jacob Sikker Remin and Francesco Saverio Mondelli

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PROTOTYPING THE LIGHT BEHAVIOUR #1

http://www.vimeo.com/5073463

First test session on the Dubmate prototype to understand the reaction to a simple light based behaviour interface. 7 users interviewed (from 25 to 70 years old)

LIGHT BEHAVIOUR ROUTINE /1 (Arduino :)
ON: solid colour full brightness, Magnet snap
CONNECTED: heartbeat blinking in sync, each device with its own colour
TRANSFER: fading (both devices with the Transmitter device light colour), Capacitive sensors allow a gesture to move content from one device to the other
TRANSFER COMPLETE: the Receiver light colour fades back in its own original set up colour, the 2 devices start blinking in sync again
TRANSFER ERROR: red light blinking

USER TEST
a. Introduction on Dubmate, a device that can store memory -like a USB stick or an external Hard Drive- but also allows the user to share contents without using a computer. Each user can choose a personalised device colour.
In this case A/LED colour: blue ; B/LED colour: yellow.

b. Activity: test the light and gesture interface and get feedbacks.

  1. How would you connect the 2 devices?
  2. Do you think they are connected now? Why?
  3. How would you transfer data between them?
  4. Is the transfer happening? From which device to which one (A>B, B>A)?
  5. Is the transfer complete?
  6. Try to disconnect the 2 devices while transferring, do you think the transfer was successful?

INSIGHTS / Light behaviour
ON: “It should be just half diffuse brightness” (Erland + Eline)
“When the devices are not connected they should have just a back light on” (Ujjval)
“If I’m not using it, the device should be off” (Nunzia)

CONNECTED: “Blinking just for 2/3 pulses, like a handshake and also to show the connection; then full brightness” (Erland + Eline)
“This blinking is too frantic, it seems there is a problem, they should just be on” (Nunzia) (Ujjval) (Enzo)
“The blinking is too long, it makes me nervous. But it is good to communicate the initial connection state” (Mimi)
“This blinking pattern can be good to say recharging or incoming message” (Erland)

TRANSFER: “I would prefer to have 3 LEDs on each device to see the transfer direction” (Erland + Eline)
“Transmitter device = full brightness static / Receiver device = flashing fast or fading in the Transmitter colour” (Erland) (Enzo)
“It is difficult to understand the transfer direction, the fade is too fast and there should be a delay in between the pulses” (Eline) (Ujjval)

TRANSFER COMPLETE: “Now it’s too short and saddle, there should be a pulsing green light for some seconds” (Erland)
“The 2 lights should be the same colour and static, when you disconnect the devices they should fade back in their own colour and glow down” (Nunzia)
“I would like to have a clearer sign for complete and error with defined colours, like green and red.(Enzo) (Rafaela)
TRANSFER ERROR: It feels right, but what happen if you device is red?” (Erland)

INSIGHTS / Gestural interface
CONNECT THE 2 DEVICES: “I would like to put one device over the other” (Ujjval)
SHARE CONTENT: “I would like to pour the content from one device to the other” (Nunzia)
“It would be nice if I could both pour and slide the content” (Ujjval)
“I would like to touch just my device to start the transfer, I don’t want to have anything to do with the other device” (Enzo)
It’s nice to do a physical gesture to start the action, it gives a feeling of control” (Enzo)
“I don’t like the pouring gesture, it’s too complex. The physical connection has to follow the logical connection” (Enzo)

COMMENTS
“Light should give the idea of empty/full” (Nunzia)
It’s useful to show something that is digital in a physical way, for instance my dad understood that I was transferring files on our external HD just because there is a light animation on it, alike Knight Rider” (Nunzia)
“Light should be used to make the device readable” (Enzo)
I like the connection because it’s clear, the gesture + the physical attraction + the light feedback make it natural” (Rafaela)
“Dubmate is a storage and communication device!” (Mimi)
“It’s important to be consistent about the light colour, does it refers to some content (error, complete…) or to the owner preferences? For instance the Apple recharge cable is orange or green according to the battery status” (Mimi)
If you use light as an indicator it should be as simple as possible!” (Mimi)

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PROTOTYPING THE LIGHT BEHAVIOUR #2

http://www.vimeo.com/5064773

Second test session on the Dubmate prototype, 5 new users + 2 users that have already tried the 1st routine.
The light behaviour is completely based on the feedbacks collected during the first round of tests.

LIGHT BEHAVIOUR ROUTINE / 2 (Arduino :)
ON: solid colour half brightness, Magnet snap
CONNECTED: heartbeat blinking in sync for 2 pulses (as an handshaking), each device with its own colour, then solid colour full brightness
TRANSFER: Capacitive sensors allow a gesture to move content from one device to the other
TRANSFER CASE A blue: fading with a delay in between (both devices with the Transmitter device light colour)
TRANSFER CASE B yellow: Transmitter=solid colour full brightness; Receiver=pulsing with the Transmitter colour
TRANSFER COMPLETE: full brightness in the Transmitter colour
DISCONNECTED: back to the ON state
TRANSFER ERROR: red light blinking

USER TEST
The introduction and the activity is exactly the same as in the 1st round of tests.

INSIGHTS / Light behaviour

ON: everybody understood the ON state
CONNECTED: “I like the initial blinking” (Mimi) (Ewan) (Sara) (Ujjval) (Eilidh)
“I was a bit worried when I saw the blinking and the light off, I thought there was a short circuit or a wiring problem” (Kevin)
TRANSFER CASE A blue: This behaviour is frustrating, it’s too slow, it should be faster also to see the direction of the transfer. This fading light makes me think that the device is not working quite enough for me” (Sara + Ujjval) (Mimi)
“It’s confusing, it’s like the coin game, which one is my device now?” (Ewan)
“It is difficult to understand the transfer direction, the fade is too slow and it’s frustrating. It should be more wavy, like the sea waves that bring something every loop” (Cedric)

“The transfer direction is not clear but it is playful. You should have more then one light on each device” (Kevin)
“If the lights pulse in sync it means that they are pairing” (Kevin)
TRANSFER CASE B yellow: “This behaviour is much clearer then the other” (Ewan) (Sara) (Ujjval)
“This behaviour is the best one, it’s distinct where the file is going” (Eilidh)
“I don’t really understand what is happening because just one light is doing something, I see the colour exchange but I’m still confused, the meaning is not spot on. The colour exchange should not be immediate, it should blend while pulsing ” (Cedric) (Kevin)
“This behaviour is clearer, the speed is fine for me. The speed of blinking/connected should be always different from fading/tranferring” (Mimi)
TRANSFER COMPLETE: I expected something different, I would prefer the Receiver to fade back to its own colour after a while” (Eilidh) (Mimi)
TRANSFER ERROR: “I understandend the meaning, but I think that this signal is too strong, it seems I did something very very bad. I think this behaviour should be used just in case of emergency. Sometimes you decide to interrupt the transfer, this blinking makes you feel stupid even if you want to stop the sharing” (Kevin)

INSIGHTS / Gestural interface
CONNECT THE 2 DEVICES: “I would like the file to start transferring as soon as I connect the 2 devices” (Sara)
“I understand that the 2 devices are connected because of the physical snap, not so much because of the lights” (Kevin)
Cedric doesn’t connect the 2 devices physically but he just aligns them as to start a IR connection.
SHARE CONTENT: “I would like to pour the content from one device to the other” (Sara)
“I would like to touch just my device to start the transfer” (Ewan)

COMMENTS
The light behaviour should be designed according to the context, I would like the blue transfer in a hospital environment – it is so gentle-, I would prefer the yellow one in a business environment” (Sara)
I connect the speed of the light change to the speed of the transfer, if it is slow it’s not working quite enought” (Sara)
“There should be a background light that doesn’t ever change, so you won’t get confused on which one is your device” (Ewan)
“There should be a bar with 3 LEDs to show the transfer clearly, the colours should blend” (Ewan)
I like when my Hard Drive LED is blinking really fast, it’s nice to think it is doing its best to do the transfer as quick as possible” (Cedric)
Now it’s simpler then before!” (Mimi)
Light has the potential to make something inviting and intuitive. It is playful and useful and this add value to the interaction with the device. You enjoy using the object more” (Kevin)

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