Soldering: YOU CAN HELP!

Questions posed to our users about new features or possible UI updates.

Soldering: YOU CAN HELP!

Postby worfc » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:01 am

The UI for soldering is a known weakness in the game. Every time I watch a new player try to make soldering connections, they have to try a few times before they can do what they want. Same thing when they break the connections. We've collected several suggestions for how soldering ought to work, but all are partial solutions with their own different set of problems.

Something you could do that would be a major help in this area:

If you've got time, it would be really handy if a bunch of you could do this:

* Find a friend who has about 5 minutes to look at the game.
* Show them the DEMO farm. (Skip all the help. You can use the HIDE help button, if you want.)
* Open the robot for them.
* Explain that we're going to use the soldering iron to connect inputs and outputs, but you can't offer any explanation about how to do it, because you want to watch what they do without any outside interference.
* (Then Don't explain anything else! :) )
* Turn on the (?) help buttons.
* Show them the how-to-solder video. DO NOT explain how it works. "NO HINTS!" (You can explain "this is the help-video for soldering", if you must.)
solder-vid.png (89.25 KiB) Viewed 1888 times

* Then, without touching the screen, without pointing out what's what, without any explanation or other hints, ask them if they can use the soldering iron to make the demo robot look like this picture:
solder-task.jpg (101.92 KiB) Viewed 1888 times

Now here's the important bit:

Watch what they do without talking or helping in any way. If they ask you questions, just shrug and say "what do you think?" You can explain that the whole point of the exercise is for you to observe what they figure out on their own, but don't explain anything about the robot or about soldering or anything about the task.

* If they manage to get their robot wired like the picture (or close), ask them to disconnect all the wires and put things back the way they were when we started.

...then either post here in the forums or email me your results.

(If you're not familiar, what we're doing here is called "hallway usability testing" :) )

What I'm looking for is:

* What kinds of mistakes did they make?
* What did they try that didn't work?
* What questions did they ask?
* Were they able to complete the task at all?

I've done this a bunch of times, and gotten some decent feedback, but I'm looking to collect more data, so I can form a more general picture of the problem across a wider sample.
Posted by WORFC, board admin, moderator, game author.

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