Contextual Inquiry-Group:GroupK

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  • Thomas Evans-Pratt
  • Alexis He wrote "Problem and Solution Overview", interviewed #3, formulated "Analysis of Tasks", drew storyboard for "easy scenario", wrote the functionality summary in "Interface design", wrote Analysis of Approach.
  • Chris Wood interviewed #1, answered "Task Analysis Questions", and completed the storyboard for the "moderate scenario".
  • Tomomasa Terazaki interviewed #2, created interface screenshots in "Interface Design", wrote interface descriptions, and completed the storyboard of the "hard scenario". Took notes during the meeting.
  • Richard Mar

Target User

Our target users are gamers who like to run, but do not do so for lack of motivation. Since not all gamers run and not all runners game, we relied on networking to find appropriate interviewees. The following user-subjects all fall in the desired category and are familiar with the virtual-pet gaming genre.

Description of Users

  1. Thom is a 17 year old student who attends Tilden Prep, a school for independent learners. Thom attended a year of high school, but then realized that the environment was not for him. He is very obviously a very intelligent person; the way he interacted with me and the insights he gave during this interview can attest to that. He is not fit for high school because he is not well motivated in a classroom setting, attracted to Tilden Prep because it consists of all one-on-one instruction.
  2. Marquis Daniels is a 20-year-old student who attends UC Berkeley. Marquis is a Caucasian male. He is from Monterey, CA. He is a Chinese Major. Since he came to college, he has been complaining that he has gained weight but he wants to be slim so he wants to go run. He likes playing video games like Pokemon with a virtual pet. He owns an iPhone. His priority is to finish his homework and play with his favorite iPhone game, Doodle Jump.
  3. Winny is a 24-year-old engineering student who attends UC Berkeley. Winny immigrated from Hong Kong and spent her teenage years in LA. She absolutely loves cats and had many pets when she was younger. She also played Tomogachi (a virtual pet game) as a child. Winny prioritizes school and work. She runs sometimes, but not frequently enough. She is noticeably chubbier since she started college.

Problem and Solution Overview

The problem we are tackling is the lack of motivation many gamers experience when trying to stay healthy through running. Our app proposes to solve this by introducing a game where you care for a virtual pet by walking/running it. In addition, statistics like weight and calorie-count help its users keep healthy.

Contextual Inquiry - Interview Descriptions

Interview 1 Transcript

Summary of interview 1:

This interview was conducted during the interviewee's lunch period at the high school he attends. It was somewhat casual, the flow of topics unfolding as a conversation would. The interviewee seemed enthusiastic about the topic throughout the interview; I believe this to be a result of the familiar environment in which it was conducted. This interview is unique in that it has the youngest subject, and his views are based off of using a lot of gaming apps as a result. Also, he was the only interviewee to mention his very fast metabolism which brought up a good point about catering to the variation in this regard.

Some good information was gained in this interview, mainly on how to best motivate users and how to structure the interaction between the user and his virtual pet. The interviewee noted that the views of society and how other people are have a lot to do with motivating him to do certain things. Including a virtual world where users could compare/compete with pets would be a good ambition for this application. Going further into the idea of motivation, the interviewee expressed a preference for positive reinforcement for observing good health rather than punishment for neglect. To this it was suggested that we include a point system that would allow you to earn items for your pet, such as clothes or toys. As far as the actual interface is concerned, not much could be said about improving textual interfaces that include reading and inputting data. The interviewee was somewhat at a loss when asked how to improve these interfaces. However, he did mention that in gaming apps he has used, navigation is sometimes awkward with touch and a simulated joystick was his answer.

List of major points:

1. Virtual world would allow for competition, which will increase motivation.

2. Make the game work for people with different metabolisms.

3. Focus on positive reinforcement for good performance rather than annoying users with buzzing or beeping

4. Bigger icons will lead to ease of use.

5. Simulating physical joysticks to navigate and interact with the game will help ease of use.

6. Look to older apps for navigation through pages and data, because most people believe it to be good the way it is.

Interview 2 Transcript

Summary of interview 2:

The interview with Marquis was great because he provided many great feedbacks to make the application more like a video game rather than having two different applications into one thing. For example receiving scores every time the user runs, so there the user wants to get high scores like regular games.

He said that the most difficult part about running is motivating him to run (he only ran once this semester and last semester combined), so he said he would be motivated if his pet gets thinner. Also, he said that the pet should die if he does not run for a week, so he will be forced to run at least once a week. We do not want the users to be shocked with their pets dying, so we will make the pets sick/escape when the users do not run for certain amount of time. Another way for him to motivate is to see how other people are treating their pets. He thought that if there is a way to find out how other pets are doing and can compare how much he ran with them, he would be even more motivated.

He wants the application to be somewhat like Pokemon where you can somehow interact with other people who use this application. Therefore, one of the ideas we got was to make a mini-game that you can play against other players. It will be just a simple game of the pet running and jumping over obstacles. The pet’s speed will be determined by the user’s weight or how much he/she ran recently. To jump over the obstacles, the user have to touch the screen at the right timing, so this way it is like a normal mini game but how much the user runs affects the game too. To get higher scores, the user has to run a lot.

Since we chose to target younger group we thought about making the home page more of a FaceBook looking screen. What will be on the news feed / recent activities are how much the user ran that week, the pet’s mood, or even if a user ran by someone with the application that is in use, the iPhone should detect that and write on newsfeed that your pet met some other pet. This is an idea taken from several games on Nintendo DS.

List of major points:

1. Likes the idea of virtual pet (should get points if you run a lot).

2. Will make him more careful about his diet and motivate him to run more

3. Motivation is the hardest part of running

4. Make a game like Pokemon without battles

5. Pet should benefit from running and possibly die without running

6. Receiving high scores

7. Steal ideas from Nintendo DS (if someone else is using the application at the same time, you get their information / rare item / etc.)

8. Post pets online for motivation reasons.

Summary of interview 3:

The interview with Winny was done at her house in a casual setting. From our conversation, I get the impression that Winny is not completely sold on the idea of Pet Trainer. She thinks the success of the app hinders on its addictiveness as a game, but that, in turn, will encourage cheating. However, her habits and lazy attitude toward exercising really bring home the reason why our app is necessary. And I believe, even if a portion of our users cheat, there's still a good portion of real people who can benefit from Pet Trainer.

I begin my interview with Winny after she had just spent most of the day working. We start the conversation around what her exercise habits are like. She mentioned that she started a running last month, but stopped a few weeks ago due to midterms. Although she claims not to have time, further questioning reveals she still goes online and watches TV.

After a while, we diverge into a new topic: cheating. Winny thinks it'll be too easy to cheat in our app. Players can lie about the food they eat, their weight, and their pedometer. Instead of running, users can shake their iPhone to simulate jogging. Winny suggests we include some reasonable bounds, for example: cap the pedometer to 4 steps per second since no one runs that fast.

After discussing some more points, I learn that Winny is a huge cat-lover. Although she can't own pets in her apartment, she routinely visits her friend who owns a cat. She even buys treats for the cat and takes pictures of him (the cat is male). This clearly demonstrates that although Winny feels she doesn't have time to exercise, it's largely due to her priorities. And her love for cats would make Pet Trainer a viable tool of encouragement.

List of major points:

  1. We should prevent cheating through GPS and/or pedometer limits.
  2. Pet Trainers should have a multiplayer competitive game like the Tomogachis that Winny had as a kid in Hong Kong (different from US version). We've incorporated this in our "Game" tab (see the "game page" figure in "interface design").
  3. Winny would find it annoying if the pet constantly sent reminders. One a week is enough.
  4. There should be a clear reward-system in the game (points/levels/items).

Task Analysis Questions

1. Who is going to use system?

Our application will be geared toward keeping younger kids physically active. Our users are those that typically feel no desire to exercise, and find traditional sports and techniques a terrible bore.Though kids in the present are brought up in an environment that makes them technological competent for the most part, we need to design our app to be simple to use, yet entertaining.

2. What tasks do they now perform?

Frankly, they are lazy and are not happy with themselves because of it. They wish to have the drive to keep themselves healthy but often succumb to fast food and lethargy because of the lack of motivation. Both the intensity and duration of motivated times needs improvement.

3. What tasks are desired?

The idea is that our application will motivate users to exercise because it will make the task more fun. It will keep users motivated out of compassion for their virtual companion.

4. How are the tasks learned?

Users will get into the habit of exercising through playing the game that is our app. Keeping the pet alive is an ongoing process, the goal being to create positive habits in the user. No special knowledge or skills are necessary, as our app is being designed for kids and needs to be able to be learned as you go along.

5. Where are the tasks performed?

The task can be performed anywhere that physical activity is permitted. Seeing as a user often brings his or her iPhone along with them while jogging, lifting weights, or playing sports, this app will be easy to use in concurrence with exercise. As far as logging nutritional intake goes, an iPhone is usually handy during meals as well.

6. What's the relationship between user & data?

The user, ideally, will form an enduring relationship with his virtual companion. Our app will allow the user to navigate virtual stores to purchase items for his pet, meet other virtual pets in a virtual world, and see data on the status and progress of his pet's health. The user's data will be as private as he or she wishes, but the fun is somewhat in competition with others.

7. What other tools does the user have?

The other tools that would facilitate the use of this app are devices that allow users to safely carry their iPhone while exercising. This way users can interact with their pet while working out.

8. How do users communicate with each other?

Users can communicate and compete with other users in the virtual work, or they could brag to their friends about how healthy their virtual pet has become since they turned a new leaf and became health conscious.

9. How often are the tasks performed?

The tasks, theoretically, should be performed multiple times daily, corresponding to the input of food to feed the virtual pet and to log any exercise. The game will be structured in a way to only reward a sufficient, healthy amount of exercise and to dish out penalties for inadequate use; the game would be structured in a way that makes it challenging yet not tedious or overwhelming.

10. What are the time constraints on the tasks?

The main problem with exercise is not the lack of time but the lack of motivation. Anyone can find a few hours each week to dedicate to physical activity. The input of data into the app should take a few minutes after every workout, or a few minutes after every meal.

11. What happens when things go wrong?

People are confused on how to use the app? We will have to include a help menu, though ease of use should be high. Forgot to input exercise or nutritional information? We will have to give users a big window to meet the pet's needs. Catastrophe? We can print a message to the screen expressing remorse when the pet dies. Backup Strategy? User must realize that motivation comes from within.

Analysis of Tasks

The following are real world tasks that represent what our users will perform on our application.

Easy 1

Rename your pet.

After you've created your pet, you decide you don't like the name "Puff Daddy" anymore and want to change it to "P. Diddy".

Easy 2

Walk/run with your pet.

Your pet is getting moody because you haven't taken him on a run lately. You open the Pet Trainer app (the pedometer is already running) and go for a quick jog around the block with the iPhone in your pocket. Afterwards, you check that your pet is happier.

Moderate 1

Feed your pet.

Your pet's hungry. Have you forgotten to feed your pet? Remember, your pet eats what you eat. Next time you finish a meal, you input what food you ate by finding and selecting the item.

Moderate 2

View your running statistics.

You suspect that your little brother has been messing with your Pet Trainer and want to see how much the pedometer's been shaken this past month. You open the history page and view the chart. You bound the time to 1 month ago. You notice a large spike around last week and conclude that's when your little brother started playing with it.

Hard 1

Create a new pet.

When you first load the application, choose your pet. Then input all the analytical data (age, height, weight, etc). This is considered hard because when you first load the application, you have to familiarize yourself with the layout and input a lot of information.

Hard 2

Race your pet against your friend's pet.

You wanna show off the progress you've made by challenging your friend. You start the racing game and connect with your friend's iPhone. How fast your pet can run is based on how fit your pet is. But there are also obstacles that your pet needs to jump by tapping on the screen with your finger. Wow, you've improved so much that your pet won! You get a reward item.

Interface Design

Functionality Summary

Users can create a pet, name it, and set the starting statistics (weight, age, height). Users take care of the pet by taking it for walks. This corresponds with walking or running while the Pet Trainer app is open in your iPhone (the Pedometer is automatically turned on when the application is open).

Users can view their running statistics in the "History" page (see "History" page in "Walk/Run" section). They can also view their weight over time or their calorie intake.

Calorie-counting in the "Food" page (see "Food" section below) is done through a serious of navigation windows for selecting food.

Lastly, users can compete their virtual pet in a race with their friends (see "Game" section below).

User Interface Description and Sketches

Start Page

Image: Start01.jpg Image: Start02.jpg Image: Start03.jpg

The "Start" page is necessary to start making the pet (or completely make a new pet from the 2nd Home Page). The user puts in their own information such as birthdate, sex, height, weight, and name (name can be anything).

Home Page

Image: Home01.jpg Image: Home02.jpg

The "Home" page is a page that looks very much alike FaceBook but for the pet. This is to attract younger users and has newsfeed and can look at what the pet is thinking so the user know if he/she should run. Also, the user can change the settings because most likely the application cannot calculate the exact weight of the user after few weeks.

Walk/Run Page

Image: WalkRun01.jpg Image: WalkRun02.jpg

The "Walk/Run" page is very simple and displays the steps count and other information prominently. This is so the runner can easily see how fast or how much they're running. Also, can view the history of how much steps the user took on last few days.

Feed Page

Image: Feed01.jpg Image: Feed02.jpg Image: Feed03.jpg Image: Feed04.jpg

The "Feed" page is for whenever the user actually eats a meal, he/she should feed the pet, so the pet is having the exact same diet as the user, so the application can calculate how much calories he/she is taking. Also, the application will provide some ordinary food and the calories of them, so the user does not have to search for how much calories each food contains. If it is something that are not consumed normally, the user can create a new meal and save it, so if the user eats that meal again, he/she does not have to type in the calories again.

Game Page

Image: Game01.jpg Image: Game02.jpg

The "Game" page is for gamers. Since the application is targeting younger audience, we thought it was a good idea to have a mini-game. However, the important part about this running mini-game is that the pet's speed depends on how much the user ran recently or how slim he/she is. The user just has to touch his/her pet in order to jump over the obstacles.

Three Example Scenarios

Easy Scenario: Walk/run with your pet.

In this example, we highlight the "Home" and the "Walk/Run" tabs. We've simplified the app interface in the drawings to better convey the actions.

For a more detailed image of step 2 and 10, see figure ...

For a more detailed image of step 8, see figure ...



Medium Scenario:

In this example we highlight how a user inputs food and is motivated to eat healthy through the use of this app.

storyboard: moderate

Hard Scenario: Play the mini-game with your pet.

In this example, we highlight the "Game" tabs. We hope the gamers lose weight because they find it fun to get high scores.

You jump over the obstacles by touching the screen as step 9 shows. Also, the character was able to beat Usain Bolt because he ran and his pet was healthy.




Analysis of Approach

The affordance of the iPhone's accelerometer allows us to log user's steps as a pedometer would, which is unobtrusive and requires no configuration other than turning on the Pet Trainer app. We considered creating a "start/stop" button, but decided to forgo that extra step to keep the app simple.

Another affordance is our image of the pet. The owner feels a sense of pride and will want to show off the pet to friends if the image is cute or funny. This lead us to the development of clothes as a reward for running. The con about this is the added complexity in managing an item inventory.

Connecting iPhones for multiplayer minigames affords user competition. As our gamers want to win, they will exercise themselves and their pets more.

The Facebook-lookalike feel on the home page affords conformity. Users will feel comfortable with a familiar interface. The pet icon will afford users to press it like in Facebook. The newsfeed affords the users' attention as this is where new events occur in Facebook. The benefit of copying Facebook's layout is assumptions of user behavior. The con is the restrictiveness of the home page layout.

The Game Page feels like the main menu in most games (centered text below an image). Gamers will immediately understand that the "1st player" option is followed by "multiplayer" which is followed by "options/high score/about information". The con is that we have to waste an entire screen for just 3 buttons.

Other potential solutions is to build the entire application like a game rather than segment the 4 features into separate tabs. This is undesirable for quick navigation since a game-world would require users to move the pet to reach the food-dish for food-input, logbook for history, etc. Moreover, as our 1st interviewee Thom points out, for iPhone gaming, navigation has always been a hard subject. Some games use a virtual joystick or finger scrolling (which quickly becomes tedious). By making the 4 prominent features (Info, Pedometer, Food, Gaming) a tab-click away, we sidestep the issue altogether.

Image Source and Credits

Dog Picture:

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