User Testing with School Pupils 1
Yesterday I did my final product user testing with three thirteen year old girls. It was quite an interesting experience actually running through my kit with my intended user group (although it is the lower end of that user group). The experience made me think a lot about whether the user group I have selected is actually the best group for my product.
I initially chose teenagers as my user group choice because they are just building consumer habits and it is at this stage that we can shape these buying habits and increase their awareness or responsibility. Teenagers are inquisitive, they are just defining where they fit into the world.
However, when I conducted user testing with two friends who were my own age, I was very surprised at how successful it was. They were both able to engage fully with the experience and the critical conversations they were having were actually very interesting to me. This made me question whether I should have designed the kit for older users.
The kit was quite fiddly to put together and, for thirteen year olds, I had to help out with screwing in the connectors.
However, we did manage to assemble a working project and I ran the workshop in the way that the girls still felt ownership of the object as something they’d made themselves at the end of it.
The girls really engaged with the message of environmental sustainability and were telling me about their experience in “eco club” at school.
One of the girls was particularly interested in sustainability and took the opportunity to tell the others off for not recycling in a playful way.
Just like in my first user testing with young people, I found that the young people had no trouble imagining what it would be like to live in the dystopia. They were suggesting breaking into shopping malls to source goods that were needed, but one girl explained that she would much rather live in the forest.
One girl shared with us her experience reading a dystopian novel in which everybody was forced to watch television all the time – and we compared that future dystopia to our own world which is exactly what I hoped that my kit would achieve (as inspired by Dunne and Raby’s Speculative Design).
It was a really good fun session – and I really enjoyed working with the girls. They were very lively and engaged throughout the session and seemed to be having fun. It was also interesting to just talk to a group of people at that age and the conversations we had while making were very interesting.
I think, what I’ve learned from this experience is that teaching and explaining how to do a kit is something I will have to develop further in the future. It is a very time consuming process with much testing required to ensure every element is properly explained – not really something within the scope of this project.
However, I once again really enjoyed the experience of making with other people. I think that my kit works extremely well in terms of generating critical conversation and giving people a shared experience together to develop these thoughts.