Life-Size Totoro: User Testing

Initially, I was going to make a large documentation post which included my user testing notes and the whole process for my final project, since I had not finished my Totoro as early as I intended to do proper user testing. However, in respect of the rest of the class who did separate blog posts, I shall do it as well.

Throughout this whole process, I had two sessions of user testing. The first one was when the code was ready and the logic functioned, but the project was not mounted in the installation yet. Rather, I projected it onto a wall in the IM lab and put the projector on the side as to not interfere with the people’s shadows. The purpose of this initial user testing was to identify whether people actually knew what they had to do with the objects or if more signifiers were needed. A general trend that I identified out of observing the four people who tested my project was a general confusion as to how the umbrella worked. Without any signifiers, they would rotate the umbrella and would change the LEDs’ position, which made the code not work. Also, since there were only two LEDs on each side of the umbrella, a slight rotation would cause it to malfunction, which could be fixed through the addition of more LEDs on both sides. Furthermore, while seeing the two girls in the image, the users assumed they were interactive as well and expected them to do something while they hovered on them. In other cases, such as when the “Glove Mode” was on, most users did not know where their hand was and thought the camera was in front of them rather than in the back, which made them interfere with the IR camera and made the code glitchy as well. Based on these observations I made the following list of improvements:

  • Make more LEDs for the umbrella
  • Fix Totoro’s eyes –> tone down the opacity of the cheeks since people mistake these with his eyes
  • Fix the visuals for the umbrella (the rain gets glitchy and is not accurately updating)
  • Change the X values for the animation frames –> make Totoro move the close one gets to his belly
  • Remove the girls from the background
  • Add a signifier of where the people are, do not only demonstrate the IR lights. Perhaps add Totoro’s eye movement for a solution to this.

After fixing these issues and making the code more reliable, I tested it again in the actual exhibition space. Most of the issues stated beforehand had been addressed and were no longer troublesome. After this user testing session,  I then decided to add a hand silhouette signifier that would show users where their hand was in relation to Totoro, which would also make the interaction more immersive.

Here is a sample video of my user testing: