After the Christmas holidays, Paulo, Mara, Sandra, Rui and Valentina had a meeting in order to decide the next steps. It was decided that the future experiences should be placed in Funchal, in order to make it easier for testing. Furthermore, the results from this first prototype were to be analyzed in order to write a paper to submit to CHI in the ‘Late-Breaking Work’ category.
For the holiday celebrations, Miguel set up a few wifi routers in the city of Funchal, placed in specific interest points, such as the market, city squares and so on. Given that the holidays bring a lot of movement to the city center, this proved to be a good way to do stress tests on the platform.
Some further users were needed for Ponta do Sol, so we arranged to take a few users to test the experience on-site. The overall tests ended with 20 users (10 in Ponta do Sol and 10 at M-ITI), and the preliminary insights gathered through user feedback pointed towards:
- A narrative that was easier to follow in the mobile/cardboard version, when compared to the tablet version that had issues with the interactivity (lack of cues meant that people did not fully understand what to look for)
- Slightly unclear audio (low volume)
- The environment was immersive, but there were a couple of issues (mostly character actions and movements)
- The oculus/cardboard was slightly big for the smartphone we were using, and some people noted that it was difficult to focus on the screen
Due to the low number of users, all researchers regrouped and planned to do another testing session off-site and compare results. These tests were held at M-ITI, and had the objective of attaining 10 users and subsequently compare the results with the Old Pharmacy.
The database has been tunned to acomodate the high ammount of information, and provide an easy interface to visualize it.
For this sixth week, the deadline started approaching. The 2D asset issues that were identified previously couldn’t be easily fixed. The chosen course of action was to fully replace most of the 2D objects that decorated the environment with a respective 3D version, meaning that only the characters remained in 2D. These were finalised along with the 3D recreation of the Old Pharmacy, so Rui and Sandra took care of finishing the design of the poster, along with a leaflet to promote the testing event. Once these were ready, they were printed, and later, spread around Ponta do Sol accordingly. They were placed in strategic spots, such as the surrounding hotels, coffee shops, and several attractions.
When the development of the experience was finalised, two different version were created for testing: a tablet version and a mobile VR (oculus/cardboard) version.
Testing, Day 1
For the first day of testing (December 11th), Mara, Paulo, Miguel and Valentina went to the Old Pharmacy in order to both assemble and test the interactive experience, along with the tracking through routers. The allotted schedule was between 5pm and 10pm.
Most of the users that showed up tried the mobile/cardboard version, but unfortunately they weren’t available to fill the survey. The test was cut short, due to an unexpected Christmas event that happened at the Old Pharmacy.
Testing, Day 2
On the second day of testing (December 12th), Rui and Sandra were present at the Old Pharmacy to pick up where the remaining researchers had left off. Because of the MicroFilm festival, there was a lack of participants that could compromise to do the entire experience. Some visitors did try the experience, but did not complete it and/or did not fill the survey, but fortunately a tourist couple, staying in the nearby hotel, were able to test both versions and fill the survey.
During this week of development, everyone continued working to meet the MicroFilm Festival deadline. Regarding the Fragments of Laura app, some problems arose due to the high quantity of 2D assets with transparency in the scenario, aligned with physical shaders from Unity 5 which made Unity crash due to lack of available RAM. Some options were discussed to try to fix this issue, and ultimately we chose to decrease the number of assets.
Today, the first routers were installed in real locations of the city of Funchal, and we are sucessfully gathering real data from the people passing by.