Mavericks/Pachyderm User Testing

The Mavericks online exhibit prototype was tested in a Calgary school on March 10th. It was the first formal evaluation of any content produced using Pachyderm 2.0, and the evaluation report was provided at today's Mavericks steering committee meeting.

I was braced for negative feedback - a natural reaction when a new piece of software is being tested in the field - and was pleasantly surprised by the feedback we received. I can't provide the full report (I didn't write it, and I'm not sure all info is available for publishing), but the abridged version is roughly:

  • The kids loved the Zoom screen. Loved it. Wanted more.
  • The text scrolly widgets are too small for little hands to manipulate, and scrolling is too fast. Text boxes are too small (can't see enough text at once)
  • Some form of table of contents or site map would be useful
  • An integrated glossary would be good
  • The kids weren't put off by the amount of content in the Mavericks prototype - they wanted more. More detail, more access to it. More information!
  • Miscellaneous comments about colour scheme (which was not the final colour scheme, but hacked together out of previous presentations)

Most of the comments were entirely expected (and were already on my list of things to fix or add), but the fact that the kids wanted more information in what is already a pretty dense package was surprising to me. I was underestimating their thirst for knowledge.

There was a time when grade 3 students would (maybe) be able to use KidPix or something in school. Now, they're using rich, interactive, dynamic content presentation systems, and demanding more... I love that.

The prototype is available online. Keep in mind that it is a quick-and-dirty first draft of functionality, with lots of UI hiccups that will be ironed out before the final version (which is about 10 times larger than the prototype).

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