UX Exploration – Avatars Revisited

UX Exploration – Avatars Revisited

As visual elements have the tendency to do, Yen’s recent depiction of a blues band using character avatars provided some much needed inspiration for the team.

Moving away from animated animal characters and towards the human form, we created the beginning of a virtual band. Each member of the band plays a WAV file for the duration of each repetition of a 12-bar blues progression. There is a clip for a rhythm and a solo track for each virtual player.

For the guest, there are separate controls to train their left and right hands—at first separately, to then later be brought together.

Left hand: An accompaniment part is indicated through the use of keyboard overlays in time with the music performed by the virtual musicians.

Right hand: An array of key overlays on the piano indicate notes that will sound good when played against the audio clips of the band. The overlays change as the chords that the band members play to provide correct notes for each section of the progression. These notes are the beginning of a guide to the guest’s improvisation.

This method of playing along with other (animated) musicians is derived from discussions about the Suzuki learning method—which has as part of its core, students accompanying other learners in introductory exercises and repertoire. We will use the new avatars to encourage the guest to engage with the music and environment, and in the process begin to learn a simple structure for musical collaboration.

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