Testing Prototype

Glenda Capdeville
Nov 19, 2018 · 8 min read

Problem Space

Inattentive ADHD makes it difficult for them to concentrate; when they find something to be difficult, they are more easily distracted; at the age of 12–18, their responsibilities and workload at school begin to increase drastically.

Inattentive ADHD students of the middle and high school struggle in reading comprehension because it is difficult for them to concentrate and control their impulsiveness. When they find the task difficult, it results in constant distractions. Moreover, they struggle to remember details and to organize their thoughts which impacts in their reading comprehension.

Problems in reading comprehension affect their academic success since all subjects require this skill.

This is especially true for students in middle and high school where the increase of responsibilities and amount of readings also increase their stress level; therefore their ability to concentrate.

At school, teachers and assistants constantly reminder distracted students to finish their work. However, inattentive students when alone doing a reading assignment or doing a test, they can still be distracted by their thoughts or external stimulus, and cannot be alert that they are distracted. Also, Keludys Orgando, special educator, told me that they have the practice to time activities. Timing is important to ADD students to evaluate their performance over time and self-awareness of what causes distractions.

In this first prototype, I wanted to test this strategy in which I based my first hypothesis.

The hypothesis

If we find a way to bring a student’s attention back to their reading task, we can help them finish.

The feature that I am testing
Prototype Sketch and Plan

Goals

  • Tracking attention span and distractions;
  • Defining distraction patterns:
    For example, thinking, checking smartphones and checking vocabulary and external links. What are they I consider distractions or part of the learning process? How can they be identified?
  • Define a time period to consider a distraction
  • Analyze responses for reminders
  • Experiment with different types of reminders

Grupo Test

For this first round, I tested a lo-fi prototype with graduate students in order to improve it and because it would be my first time tracking distraction. My criteria to chose grad students are because they have to read a big chunk of text or a set of pages as their assignments and they are reading to learn and their life got pretty intensive.

  • I tested in our first-year graduate student at SVA while doing their mandatory reading for Research Methods and I observed them for 30 minutes.
  • They said that is a pretty good reader and do not get distracted.
  • I check their current state if they were stressed, tired, overwhelmed. But most of them sad they are good and are not distracted, but one person who was tired got very distracted during the test.
  • I did not change the platform that they use to read on. I adapted to them.

Prototype Components

Prototype 1

The participant was reading a book for his choice and I was observing him on his side.
Type: User Observe (in person)
Object: Book of Interaction Design, his choice
Reading for learning and pleasure
English as a second language
Observation: 50 minutes
Distractions during the test: 0 in 50 minutes

Participant A, Interaction Design and international student, was reading a book of Interaction Design, while I was seating on his side. He was reading for pleasure and it was also a suggestion from his sponsor. My physical presence made he felt pressure and more focus, but not extremely focused. I think that observing him reading made him uncomfortable and under control, and at the same time focus. He listened to some music, Neo-folk, even though the environment was quiet. Music helps him focus on this task. However, if the text content is very interesting, he does not need to listen to music.

I learned that:

  • I do not have enough time to alert him while he got distracted;
  • He performed other tasks related to his reading like searching for vocabulary;
  • He performed other tasks very quickly, like drinking water, change the sound volume;
  • My presence helped him to focus because he feels pressure to do it; however, it not let him extremely focused or relax.
  • Prepare to read such as bringing water glass and headphones.
  • Listening to music helps him to focus.

Iteration

  • There is some delay from the phone service provider to process the calling request; COUNT WITH IT!!!
  • Observer presence affects the experience. USE COMPUTER TO OBSERVE READERS!!!

Prototype 2

The participant was reading a technical book as an assignment for her class on her laptop. I was observing her by using cameras of our computers.
Type: User Observe through the computer
Technique: Using Google Hangout (and sharing screen in order to monitor screen activities) and Slack Video Call (to observe movements)
Object: An e-book, Interviewing User
Reading for learning as her assignment
Where: on her laptop
Environment: noisy studio
Observation: 30 minutes
English as the first language
Current State: tired
Distractions during the test: 4 in 30 minutes
Distractions: looking notifications in her cellphone and interact with them for 30 seconds.
Keywords: get distracted in her own thoughts

Participant B, Interaction Design student, was reading a set of pages from a technical book on her computer as her master assignment. I observed her on Slack and using our computer’s cameras and she forgot that I was observing her.

The studio where she was reading was noisily and she put her headphone; however, she did not play any music. She only put them “to get me on the zone” and avoid interference. She highlights sentences and copies them in a document file.

I wait for 5 s when she interacted with other objects and changed her focus from the reading

After I buzz, she came back quickly to her reading task

Observing through the camera, I could track her eyes.

I learned that:

  • Check the length of the text when bored/tired
  • She forgot that they were observed through a camera
  • Reminders help her to keep reading longer
  • Reminders did not get her to irritate,
  • Reminders helped her to come back to reading
  • When I did not call her attention back, she spends 30 seconds in other activities
  • She wishes to be a positive text reminder.
  • The first time, she could not distinguish between the buzz calling and reminder
  • He performed other tasks related to his reading like searching for vocabulary;
  • Looked for the length of the text

I learned extra:

  • “It is tough to read for 30 minutes”
  • Step up the moment to read. It is like a ritual.

Iterate

  • I need to change the buzz call sound
  • Create the environment if participants are reading in their personal computer.
    Eg. turn on slack in sleep mode and turn off any notification
  • Pay attention how many pages do they read

Prototype 3

The participant was reading a set of pages (15 pages) from a technical book as an assignment for his class in my iPad. I was observing her by using cameras of our computers.

Type: User Observe through slack video-call (to observe movements)
Reading support: on my Ipad
Environment: noisy studio
Observation: 30 minutes
English as a second language
Current State: tense
Distractions during the test: 0 in 30 minutes
Distractions: looking for vocabulary definitions.

Participant C, Interaction Design and international student, was reading 15 pages of a PDF from a technical book on an Ipad as her master assignment. I observe him on Slack he forgot that he was being observed.
The studio where he was reading was noisily and he put his headphone to listen to Classic/poop Indian songs; Also because he listens to a musical album in the same length that he proposed himself to be reading. It is his way to time himself.

He takes notes in his notebook and He prefers to read in his laptop because it is set up for reading activities, for example, he turns off all notifications and his access to any apps by using the software Domain. Also, in this opinion, laptops look like for formal work and iPad is for fun.

I learned that:

  • If they change activity, like checking vocabulary doesn’t mean people are distracted
  • Using music algum length as a timer / to keep track of timing

Prototype 4

The participant was reading a set of pages (100 pages) from a technical book as an assignment for her class in print copy. I was observing her from our computer cameras.

Type: User Observe through slack video-call (to observe movements)
Reading support: print copy
Environment: quiet studio
English as a second language
Current State: good
Distractions during the test: 1 distraction in 30 minutes.
Distractions: Reading a notification on her phone.
Keywords: music distracted her

Participant D, Interaction Design and international student, was reading 100 pages of printed pages from a technical book as her master assignment. I observe her on video-call through Slack. She forgot that I was observing her. She prefers to read on paper because she likes to highlight the content. The studio was quiet. She did not listen to music when reading because it distracted her.

She highlighted the material.

I extra learned:

  • Shorter chapters motivate her to keep reading
  • Time how long she takes to read 1 page, then she calculates how long it is going to take her to finish
  • At home, her dog distracted her.

Takeaways

  • Reminders are good and keep distracted readers on track, and do not get irritated with 3 reminders in 30 minutes;
  • Prefer a gentle sound different from cell phones buzz and one person suggested a text notification;
  • Complementary activity like checking vocabulary and videos are not distractions but they have some risk;
  • Sometimes, they pause to think, check vocabulary and external links. I think I should consider it and I did not classify as a distraction;
  • 5 second to determine time spam: they change their focus to another object, like their cell phones notifications.

Curve of distraction

Curve of Distraction

This curve represents their extra activity and engagement in the reading.

I learned that checking vocabulary or changing the song volume did not disturb their reading concentration, as in curve 1 and 4.

The first 5 minutes and after 20 minutes of reading, participants showed behaviors that they are tired. They change posture, they look more around, their eyes slightly close.

Next Steps

  • Test only as vibrations;
  • Test alerts on the body;
  • Test different sounds of reminders;
  • Test reactions to fake alerts;
  • Define the number of reminders that get annoyed;

Questions

  • Should I create distractions during the test?
  • Should I push the testing period more than 30 minutes for this group-test?
Glenda Capdeville

Written by

My Thesis Process

A year process of my MFA thesis project

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