Week 14

  • April 20 – 24

    Monday morning began at 9AM. This is early for us, because when given the choice, work days are instead work nights.

    We started early because Monday was softs presentations, which was the last formal opportunity to show the faculty our product. We tried to showcase the team’s design choices – what was included, whether or not it worked, if it did, why, and then how we would push the book if we had more time. (Answer: We’ve found it’s the atmosphere-building content that is the most special.)

    So, faculty and special guests visited the room in shifts, just like quarters, but this time seeing a complete product. On top of getting graded, we were also using this as a way to test and observe. It proved useful! Another use case emerged. Our standing list: 1) reading, 2) find all the things and play. During quarters, I saw for the first time someone go through with the volume on high without reading or focusing on images, and just activating and listening for sounds. 3) Sound palette.

    Part of our feedback from softs was to improve the instruction page. In fact, we were already focusing on that.

    The UI and instruction page were some of the last things to get added. As such, we know we have to test them. So, when the team had the opportunity to participate in another playtest day, we took it. We got groups of 4-5 kids for twenty minutes each, not unlike the first playtest day. We learned from the first playtest that getting kids in groups for short periods of time is not conducive to use case number one, reading. Adults need about an hour to read through the book. So, Will had the idea to exploit use case number two and make a scavenger hunt of features. This would give us feedback on the usability of UI and navigation.

    Most users skipped over our instruction page unless explicitly asked to read it. Even when they did read it, and learned how to use the menu or parallax, their expectations about the interactions weren’t informed – they expected sound from everything and were tilting for non-parallax images. Based on these results, we know we need an instruction page that prompts an action, and teaches categories of content (animation, parallax, sound, and text-sound).

    Observations from playtesting scavenger hunt style:

    1) Competitive Reading

    “Oh, I found the worm in the sign!”

    “Hah, I’m beating you!”

    And thus, a fourth use-case was born: 4) competitive reading.

    2) Real Reading

    Despite our scavenger hunt presentation, I was delighted when one girl started our book by reading from the beginning. She kept reading until she saw her friends skipping through the book.

    3) Turtle Death

    Tapping on turtles startles them, and they jump into the water. Or so we thought.


    Some playtesters assumed they were killing the turtles, and gleefully proceeded to click on and kill every last one.


    Next, the team is going to focus on polish items. After that, we’re going to have to make decisions about what to do with the final app. At the moment, we’re planning on distributing it on the Amazon Appstore.

    Tonight, Team Cat Scratch will be attending an arcade put on by the new Bit Bridge Indie Community (BBIC). The arcade/demo is part of the art crawl, a monthly event in downtown Pittsburgh. And of course, we’re bringing our cat ears.