Porture Perfect — Behavioral Prototype

For this project I teamed up with 3 other designers (Melissa, jessica and Korn) to gain experience in using behavioral prototyping to explore a user interaction scenario. The objective behind a behavioral prototype is to simulate an interactive experience between a person and a device or technology making efficient use of low-cost, low-tech materials to produce a quick learning opportunity about a user experience question. The specific challenge was to build and test a behavioral prototype for a Wearable posture/position assistant.

User Test Design + Prototype Design

The Design Goal: We set to create a system that will teach a user how to complete and perfect workouts and postures through audio feedback on a wearable strapped to the user.

This prototype had to be as realistic and as convincing as possible since we did not create the technology, we were “faking it” in order to asses how an user will respond to a product like this.

Brainstorming for Implementation

Initial brainstorming session.

We initially envisioned some type of vest that will provide voice commands to guide the user through the different steps of the pose or excercise. In addition we wanted to provide vibrations once the users holds the pose correctly, but due to the lag of time between sending a message and the vest (with phone inside to recieve messages) vibrating we decided to scratch vibrations and stick to voice commands. We also changed the vest idea and converted it to a belt so it will be less obstrusive.

The voice commands were prerecorded using Mac’s Text to Speak application to morphe the voice into something more robotic to allow the user to think that this was machine feedback instead of human feedback.

After several iterations of how we were going to pull this off we settled on using the following set up:

  • Two rooms: the user test room and the control room.
  • A kinect, for placebo effect, connected to one of the computers.
  • A website, also for placebo effect, so the user can select the pose they want to perfect. It also runs a gif to simulate that the kinect is picking up the user’s movements and the software is processing. You can view the website here.
  • Adjustable fanny pack to contain a small wireless bluetooth speaker to send the voice commands to.
  • Three computers: one to display the website for the user and at the same time hosting a Skype call that allows the wizard in the other room to view the subject. Computer number two receives the Skype call and serves as monitoring device and recording device of user’s activity. Computer number three is in charge of sending the previously recorded instructions about the pose.
  • A camara and tripod to record lateral angle of user’s movements.
Set up diagrams
To the left showing testing room with the wearable, Kinect and computer running website. To the right the Wizard at the control room placing speakers inside phany pack.

User Test + Analisys

What we wanted to evaluate with this prototype:

  • How detailed audio instructions have to be.
  • How willing are people to listen to directions given by a machine.
User test room. View from camara hosting website.

The day before our user test we performed a pilot test. We ran the pilot test on eachother and realized that we needed to change the voice commands. Voice commands were in some spots too long, therefore hard to follow. In addition we decided to just perform the test in one Yoga position instead of two as we had planned at the beginning.

For this user test we recruited our participant at ramdom. Jessica and I went down to the first floor of the Foster Library and waited for one of the students to stand up as if they had finished studying, then we approached her and told her we were working in our captone project and needed her help to test our prototype. She graciosly said yes and came with use to the user testing room. Melissa (OZ) was already watching from the other room as we entered. After asking for consent and permission to record a video we started the user test. We explained how the deviced worked, placed the device on her, ask a couple of questions about how the device felt in her body and requested she selected the yoga pose we were going to test.

Video of project and usability test.

After she completed the pose we proceded with a short interview to gain a better understanding on how she felt about the instructions provided by the device.

Key findings:

  • The user was fully convinced the a program had been written to analize posture and workouts. “Did you guys coded all that? Impresive!!!”
  • User stated that the instructions were pretty clear. However, it was sometimes confusing because she was not sure of were the front was.
  • User did not need to see themselves while performing the pose.
  • User found corrective instructions usefull. Ex.“A little less”


If a product like this were to be developed we will recommend to create a thigter more ergonomic device to prevent any obstructions during workouts. A device like this will not be usefull while perfoming excercises that require laying on the ground. Something smaller like a wristband will be more appropiated. It is important to make sure that instructions are small and precise and avoid any type of ambiguity. Finally we realized that having the haptic feedback functionality we thought at the begining and were not able to include will be a big plus in a device like that. Haptic feedback provide an immediate feedback that lets the user know when a perfect posture has been achived something voice commands can’t rival.

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