fredag 1 november 2013

Status update

Blogging slows down when work picks up, but I still want to share some status updates.

Ball Game
The ball game prototype is now abandoned by us, as the game engine we used didn't handle bouncing(!) very well. This came up as one of the main criticisms during play-testing. Instead of moving on to another engine we decided to move onto other projects. I still think this was a interesting concept in its simplicity though, and would like to come back to it one day, but for mobile.

Coffee Guide
I did some updates to the application during the week - one of the things that I was least happy with after the last layout change was the bad user experience on larger screens like tablets. The application has now been updated with a tablet interface, similar to the first version of the app (with a sidemenu for picking coffee type, and a main view to the right for showing information).

Screenshots of the Coffe Guide running on Nexus 7 (2012) hardware (sorry for the messed up layout)

Mobile website redesign
This has been ongoing throughout the week, but with no major overhauls, just a lot of smaller adjustments and fixes. The devil really is in the details!

We decided that, after abandoning the ball game idea, we wanted our next project to be for mobile devices, mainly due to the fact that we both think it's the most fun and interesting area to work within. One of my main draws toward mobile is their context awareness - you really need to design for so many varying use-contexts. You can also let the user and context influence the software in a totally different way than on our other digital artefacts.
Thomas mentioned his fascination with the simplicity of the new spirit-level in the iOS7 compass app, something I also have appreciated. After some discussion we decided to do something with a similar - take a simple data value, but present it in an elegant and interesting way. The data of choice fell on altitude above sea level: it's a value that is easily comprehended, but it does not at all have a significant place in most people's lives. Can we make something that can make this topographical property interesting to people?
Today has been spent sketching different ways to convey altitude in relation to a smartphone, but also to dissect the different components that are involved when actually being at a certain altitude, e.g. the earth, topographical features, the person itself, but also how you hold the phone in relation to the earth's surface.
One of many pages of sketching from this morning

We think we have dialled the design down to a couple of alternatives, so now comes the next problem. How do we test this successfully in a paper prototype-state? Is it even meaningful? Do you care about altitudes that you've never visited, if you just get them served to you in a test setting?
Our instant feeling is that we'll perhaps need to make this a longer test period, with a digital prototype, so that people can look at actual values, and to test how close we can get to the elegance of the aforementioned spirit-level app. We see this as a rarely used application, that mostly will be used when you're at an exceptional topographical feature (e.g. the top of a mountain or bottom of a quarry), so the testing procedure will need to allow for that as well in some fashion.

See you again on Monday!

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