Don't Build a Power Glove: Talk to Your Users!

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Presented at SXSW Interactive - March 2012 by RJ Owen

“Throw away your joysticks, kids,” began the 1989 article of “Design News” praising that year’s must-have Christmas accessory: the Power Glove. At the time it seemed as if traditional video game controllers would soon be a thing of the past. But the Power Glove was anything but a success. While it was a design and technology coup, coolness is unfortunately a poor metric for product success. What the Power Glove lacked was customer insight. During the technology and design crunch nobody stopped to ask, “How is this device for playing games? Do people want to use it?” Thus, the teams rushed blindly into building the wrong thing.Customer insight is the most critical piece of the application and software creation process. You can build something sweet, but if nobody uses it you’re left with little more than a colossal waste of time, effort and money. On the flip side, customer insight applied to the process can result in more customers, increased market share and a better ROI.

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Don't Build a Power Glove: Talk to Your Users!

  1. 1. RJ Owen SXSWi 2012 Don’t Build a Power Glove @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlv Talk to Your UsersThursday, March 15, 12
  2. 2. About me RJ Owen Experience Planner EffectiveUI @rjowen rj.owen@effectiveui.comThursday, March 15, 12
  3. 3. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  4. 4. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  5. 5. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  6. 6. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  7. 7. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  8. 8. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  9. 9. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  10. 10. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  11. 11. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  12. 12. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  13. 13. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  14. 14. what happened? 7th worst video game controller of all time (IGN) sold $88M US (that’s a failure) Japanese producer declared bankruptcy @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  15. 15. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  16. 16. product development process • NASA technology, VPL data glove -> consumer device • Huge engineering and design challenges • "This was a total fire drill," says Gentile of the AGE team. "We were doing design concepts, software, and hardware design—all parallel." @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  17. 17. perspectives technology business users @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  18. 18. perspectives: most companies how technology why business users who @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  19. 19. perspectives: the Power Glove why technology who business users how @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  20. 20. perspectives how technology who business users why @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  21. 21. Every project starts with people. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  22. 22. Generate and Evaluate the two sides of new product development Finding the Right Problem Solving the Problem in the 1 to Solve 2 Right Way Who is it for? How should it work? What do they need? Does it solve the need? Why do they need it? Is it useful? How does it work today? Is it usable? What should it do? Is it desirable? Explore Refine Question Answer Generate EvaluateThursday, March 15, 12
  23. 23. Finding the right problem. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  24. 24. My study. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  25. 25. Guerrilla Research • small sample sizes (5-7) • qualitative, not quantitative • get the designer out of her / his head • Three activities: • Observed playing games • Controller discussion - which games good for which? • Family conversation @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  26. 26. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  27. 27. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  28. 28. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  29. 29. Findings. @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  30. 30. motion and gaming massive overhand golf-swing @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  31. 31. physical context couches basement laying down @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  32. 32. cords physical context basement storage room tv precariously perched @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  33. 33. social context • direct manipulation is better with friends • kids more willing to move with others present @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  34. 34. distractions vengeful Jedi Also: babies, little sisters @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  35. 35. where would the glove be valuable? • throwing • punching • pushing • picking up • “forcing things” • all hand motions @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  36. 36. where are other controllers better? • racing games (joystick, thumbsticks, tilt-controllers) • complicated games - users want more buttons (multi-button controller) • sports games that focus on feet (multi-button controller) • shooting games (gun controller) @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  37. 37. wall-mounted revisiting Lucas Barton TV? In 1989? sun room? empty room; no furniture drinking 1-player fountain? no distractions @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  38. 38. the right problem in 1989 • direct manipulation is great, but boil it down to 1 action • provide good constraint, margin for errors • clear link between action and game • make it a social activity @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  39. 39. fixing Lucas: location • put him in a comfortable space, where real people play video games. @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  40. 40. fixing Lucas: friends • Friends are player 2 practicing Super Glove Ball, which is now multiplayer player 1 @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  41. 41. fixing Lucas: the game • Lucas shows off with a game that demonstrates punching, like Punch Out @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  42. 42. getting it right @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  43. 43. the right problem in 2012 • taking cartridges and disks out of the equation • owning the casual multi-player game space • owning online game reputations for casual gaming • re-inventing wearable controllers @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  44. 44. Don’t build a Power Glove. Talk to your users! @rjowen #SXNoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  45. 45. take the next step books Guerrilla UX Research Methods, Unger and Warfel Sketching User Experiences, Buxton Design Research: Methods and Perspectives, Laurel Lean UX, Gothelf training 1-2 day workshops Customer Insight / Research talks at SXSWi @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12
  46. 46. Thanks! Any Questions? Thanks to my RJ Owen Research Assistants: Experience Planner Kelly Downing Angela Craven EffectiveUI Brad Umbaugh @rjowen Julia Houck-Whitaker rj.owen@effectiveui.com Tricia Leahy Meyer @rjowen #NoPwrGlvThursday, March 15, 12

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