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Week 8 News

Weekly Newsletter for 3/9/2012

This Week from Digital Dream Lab!

Mini Halves

This week the focus was to roll out the new size and background blocks in a newly constructed wooden block set. Most of the team has been out in San Francisco enjoying sunshine at the Game Developers Conference. Joo and Matt prepped the blocks and headed to the museum on Thursday for a play test and client meeting at the museum. The museum was unfortunately very slow, and we only had a couple of children play with the blocks. They were very young, and there didn’t seem to be enough comprehension.

This did not, however, leave us with an unproductive day! Kevin suggested moving the table closer to the projection surface as a way to strengthen the connection between the physical and digital work spaces. We quickly pulled the camera mount down and positioned above the projection space so that we could move the work space closer. The one group that did approach the experience did seem to make the connection quicker, but it was also brought up that visitors may miss the experience entirely, based on it’s position near the corner of the flex space.

For the client meeting, Lisa took the opportunity to invite other museum employees to come down and play with our interface. We received a lot of great feedback and constructive criticism regarding our project. Everyone was fascinated by the core concept and experience, and realized the potential of the interface. They also had only nice things to say about our art direction and style.

While everyone seemed inspired by the concept, they felt that it wasn’t quite there yet. Since we are only at the halfway point in the project, we still have time and refinement cycles to get it right! Here are some of the comments and suggestions that were brought up during conversation:

  1. Think about the fact that there is already information contained within the marker. You are asking a child to make a connection with an abstract block shape that is very different from what it represents in the digital world. This is a hard connection to make when they are only just starting to work on language skills. How can the marker better represent what it is depicting in the virtual world? Can we create a stronger link between the two that solidifies the connection for the children?
  2. How do you teach parents more about what’s going on? How do you give an older audience more information so that they can confidently explain what’s going on to their younger children? Think more about creating an environment that is more inviting for children and parents alike to learn more about programming
  3. The weight of the marker sizes seems off. The object, which is the key, is the same size as the color marker currently. The same can be said for the marker and icon on the block itself.
  4. Is there a way to put the two pieces of information together for the human and the machine? In the instance of color, could the marker be four different colors?
  5. Try having the object blocks be larger and have the attribute blocks be contained within that bound. This can create a more compact feel. It also lends itself to the potentiometer effect for certain attributes!!

Next Week

• Play test the newest build in the museum
• Start thinking about how to refine the interaction of the current experience
• Halves Prep