IXD301 – User Testing – Placards

As a designer, I have learned before I am not designing for myself, instead, I am designing for others, more appropriately, I am designing for children aged 8 – 10. I suddenly got an idea – instead of me creating a story for each character, how about the children create the stories for themselves. Although, I thought about this for a while on how I can execute this task I eventually decided to design three potential characters for my project and stuck them all on their own individual placard. My idea is to get inside the heads of a child to hear their thoughts and ideas on my potential elemental characters.

The following elemental characters are shown below:


1. The Script

Firstly, I needed to create a script that I can follow to get the best and direct communication possible. I settled on 6 questions that help me understand their likes/dislikes as well as the stories about the characters.

The questions that will be asked:

  1. Which person do you like the best? 
  2. Why do you like this person? 
  3. Can you tell me a story about this person?  
  4. Which person do you like the least? 
  5. Why do you not like this person? 
  6. Can you tell me a story about this person? 

2. The Candidates

Secondly, I needed candidates to sit down with. I decided to get five candidates:

Candidate 1:

  • Name – Eimar (Niece)
  • Gender – Female
  • Age – 8
  • Location – Belfast
  • Hobbies – Loves playing with her L.O.L’s and spending all her mummies money on Roblox for Robux.

Candidate 2:

  • Name – Darcy (Unrelated)
  • Gender – Female
  • Age – 8
  • Location – County Down
  • Hobbies – Likes playing outside, Roblox and meeting with her friends after school.

Candidate 3:

  • Name – Odhrán (Nephew)
  • Gender – Male
  • Age – 8
  • Location – Glasgow
  • Hobbies – Passionate about football.

Candidate 4:

  • Name – Colum (Nephew)
  • Gender – Male
  • Age – 10
  • Location – Glasgow
  • Hobbies – Loves video games and football.

Candidate 5:

  • Name – Caoimhin (Nephew)
  • Gender – Male
  • Age – 10
  • Location – Belfast
  • Hobbies – Passionate about video games and hurling.


3. The Conditions

Before I commence these miniature interviews I must set conditions for it:

  1. Interviews must be held 1 on 1 to avoid any biased opinions that may occur.
  2. Must be in a relaxed environment.
  3. Use simple words – repeat and slow down.
  4. Be friendly and engaging.
  5. Questions can’t be hard.
  6. 5 minutes with each candidate.
  7. A pen and paper to take notes.
  8. For time & reasonable sake candidates 2, 3 & 4 will be interviewed online.
  9. Children will be focusing on the visuals, therefore I will be noting their answers.


4. The Responses




5. The Stats – Bar Chart

By Age

Firstly, I decided to look at the ages of each individual candidate and found that the younger ones (8) picked the more subtle and laid-back characters (1 & 3) while the older ones (10) picked the more wild and wacky character.




By Gender

I decided then to take take a look at the genders of each individual candidate. This graph proves my assumptions and found that kids will look at characters for masculine and feminine qualities then quickly identify to that character (even if the characters do not conclude their gender.) For example, the third character possesses a gentle, vibrant and feminine stance whereas the more masculine characters are bold, slightly intimidating and rough. I found that the two female kids disliked number 2 as it was the most prominent in these masculine features. It was found that all three male candidates disliked the assumed feminine character (3) most often commenting on the character’s feminine appearance.


6. Acknowledging Possible Flaws

After I did the “interviews” with all candidates I decided to sit down and think of all the possible weaknesses of my assessments. After seeing the gender statistics I figured that I could’ve added a third feminine elemental character so that there is an evenly proportionate amount of masculine and feminine characters to pick from giving a more accurate result. I also noticed that it would be more preferable if there was an even amount of kids from each gender and age group, this would allow seeing a more accurate and representational result. It could also be assumed that 5 candidates aren’t enough for sufficient evidence/findings.


What have I learned?

This type of user research has been essential to me in building and developing characters for my elements project through looking at how kids interact and engage with my characters. Not only this but it has given me the opportunity to explore different stories from kids themselves that I can eventually add to my final prototype. It was also interesting to see the statistical side of how kids based on their demographic (age & gender) picked differently. This has made me acknowledge the importance of inclusivity in my characters and has made me think about this for future characters in my project.




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