This week has been really busy and packed full of making and doing. Having managed to finalise my prints, fabric and sewing patterns, as well as get the app to testing stages and the sensors connected to the suits! The culmination of which will be tested at the end of the week with Lou, Jack (9) and Ollie (3). I wanted to ensure that I tested with the extreme end users of the product (in terms of age), but this also meant sewing up prototypes to fit them and to test with!
The prints and fabric
When I was ordering new ribbing fabric for the cuffs as suggested by Ruby last week, I also found a tracksuit type fabric described as Adidas vintage 70s. It is 100% polyester which made me think this fabric should work with the sublimation printing really well. In addition to this, I have been working on the new prints which go back to the original size and layout as on the scuba fabric, but including the hand drawn shapes that I added to my custom font that has become part of the logotype / branding.
I tested this on a microfibre polyester fabric as I knew this would print well, although in terms of creating the suit, is too light to give it the necessary shape. It has printed so vibrantly, exactly how I was hoping.
The next day the fabric I had ordered came through, it has a fleece lining which makes it soft but also really structured. Unfortunately the potentials of overheating could become an issue, however this is a prototype and I feel the process I am using to print the fabric may limit me to be able to overcome this potential issue. However, it too has printed really vibrantly and the sheen of the fabric gives it a sports luxe look. Which may help prevent the reaction of it looking like pyjamas that Caitlyn and Michael pointed out about the purely jersey option.
The Sewing pattern
I also know at this stage and in this iteration the sensors are needing to go into the suit and that I am wanting to add the raglan sleeve for enhanced comfort and movement. At the moment I am still using the Tramontana libraries via processing and phone input because the calibration of the accelerometer appears to be better and it is triggering movements more reliably than via arduino. I am hoping to switch to arduino to get more controllers in to the suit (I only have one spare phone) and intend to tackle that next week! Having to account for the sensors means planning to add in pockets large enough to accommodate the sensors. My initial thought is to add hidden zip pockets in the limbs. However, getting these zips to colour match with the print might be tricky and mean the sensors would be on their side rather than the right way up. Also, having experimented with the sensors the other week, I noticed there needs to be a slight tilt to the movement for it to recognise either the pitch, roll or yaw.
Therefore I have designed concealed pockets which can be reached by turning the suit inside out to test how these work (if they give the phone enough movement to tilt and record accurately.
I still need to figure out the fastening of these pockets, but I want to test that the shape of the pockets works with the sensors as planned. However this will need to be resolved at the next iteration. But this is how I have put the pockets in to the limbs, as I was sewing the testing prototypes.
The test prototypes
I am really happy with the outcome of these prototypes, especially when compared with past iterations - it will be exciting to get them tested and see them in use. The jersey fabric for the main body is slightly lighter in weight than previous, although this wasn't on purpose, this was because I picked up the wrong fabric when I bought it. Luckily I have more of the correct weight on the way, because some of the seams aren't as strong as they should be.
I also wanted to test out the sensor in the pocket to make sure it would work at testing. Unfortunately the suit arms are a bit too small for me to fit in, so I have tried it on my arm with one of the legs. As you can see moving my arm in the suit works (although I need to correct the maths a bit)
The test app and gameplay
I have been working away to develop the narrative, animations and gameplay, however I wanted to test how Jack and Ollie would react to the suit and what their instinctive reactions would be. To do this I wrote a simple programme in processing that would draw Zee's rocket ship in place as they move.
In addition to this, I have been working on developing the app further and ensuring there was an app experience for Lou to test during the testing session this weekend. I want to show setting up the suit and setting goals and rewards.
Testing session prep
The final part of the week was ensuring I was prepared for the testing session and getting together a discussion guide to gain the insights and feedback that will be essential to drive the project forward and inform the next steps. I wanted it to have quite a free format to it, to allow as much user participation and guidance to the conversation. I have used techniques that I learned from my internship, as well as following articles which was sent to me by Guru Hazel Wyllie, which she emailed over specifically about user testing with children.
From this I have created the following as a list of topics that I want to cover.
- Brief intro, find out how they all are (building a rapport with Jack & Ollie)
- Find out about the current activity levels, how active they are, what they enjoy doing for fun
- Favourite toys and games to play, and why
- Do they play together as a family?
- Find out more about screen time usage (in depth)
Then let Lou use the QR code to trigger the signing up process on phone
- Ask how she found the process?
- Is there anything that you would expect to see but didn't?
- Was there anything you were surprised to see?
- Did all of the labels / sections make sense?
Then start play testing with Jack & Ollie
- This is focusing on functionality and usability testing (observing their movements and how they interact with the gameplay available)
- Get them to spin, jump, roll and move limbs to see how the rocket moves (is this what I expect?)
- What actions do you enjoy?
- What kind of games / characters could you imagine playing / being like this?
- Would you prefer to play alone or together?
Then show Lou the app after the notification (session end)
- What kind of rewards would you like to see available? (App shop / family rewards like days out)
- Do you think these rewards would incentivise your children to play more?
Testing and iterating!