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Bas arkun loh-usability

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A proceeding entitled “Usability studies of “Labours of Hercules”: The mythological mobile game” has been presented for Contemporary World Challenges for the European Citizen Conference in Cluj Napoca ,Romania

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Bas arkun loh-usability

  1. 1. Baş, T., & Arkün-Kocadere, S. (2016). Usability studies of “Labours of Hercules”: The mythological mobile game. In G. Pop (Ed.). Proceedings of the Contemporary World Challenges for the European Citizen Conference (pp. 310-313). Cluj-Napoca, Romania. USABILITY STUDIES OF "LABOURS OF HERCULES": THE MYTHOLOGICAL MOBILE GAME Turgay Baş, Hacettepe University, turgaybas@hacettepe.edu.tr Selay Arkün Kocadere, Hacettepe University, selaya@hacettepe.edu.tr Abstract: Labours of Hercules (LOH) mobile game is an intellectual output of the “Searching for the Labours of Hercules” (SFTLOH) Erasmus+ Project which focuses on the integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning process. This study aims to explain the usability studies that were performed in the development process of the mobile game. Usability is defined as the degree to which a product can be used free of problems. Usability tests are performed either during the development process and/or at the end of the process. Usability studies performed at the beginning of the development process and repeated until completion limit the number of problems and prevent extra development costs or time. While developing LOH, 8 different usability test in 3 phases were performed with the participation of 3 team members, 22 users, and 1 expert. In addition to the usability tests that have already been completed, the 4th phase will be performed with the participation of real users as an end product test. Keywords: usability, Labours of Hercules, Erasmus+ project, mobile game, educational game Introduction Usability is generally defined as the degree to which a product can be used without encountering difficulties or errors. Usage without problems result in higher satisfaction, ease of use, and aim completion. Indicators of usability include not getting an error, solving an error easily, understanding the usage of product, learning how to use it without help or without having to think about it, and leaving the usage process satisfied. Usable products usually serve their design goals (Dumas & Redish, 1999, www.usability.gov, ISO 9241-11). Usability is generally associated with the field of human-computer interaction and is assumed to be a user interface feature of computers and computer-like devices such as tablets, phones, etc. Usability studies are important to help create more user friendly environments by facilitating interfaces that are errorless, compatible with the target audience, and more qualitative. The main aim of usability studies is to determine the degree of usability of a product and to develop a strategy to improve it. Although various evaluation methods have been described in the literature, two in particular are more commonly used. The first, user evaluation, is performed by the representatives of the target group, based on their user experiences. The second method, expert evaluation, is based on criterion and is performed by experts who have qualifications in the field of human-computer interaction (Dix, Finlay, Abowd, & Beale, 2004; Barnum, 2010). Usability studies are also categorized according to their timing, either during the design process or at the end of it. While usability tests run during the development process generally aim to improve the usability of product, others aim to determine the usability degree of product. Ideally, usability studies are performed both within and at the end of the process with the participation of both users and experts (Rubin & Chisnell, 2008; Barnum, 2010).
  2. 2. Baş, T., & Arkün-Kocadere, S. (2016). Usability studies of “Labours of Hercules”: The mythological mobile game. In G. Pop (Ed.). Proceedings of the Contemporary World Challenges for the European Citizen Conference (pp. 310-313). Cluj-Napoca, Romania. This study aims to explain the usability studies performed during the design process of the Labours of Hercules (LOH) mobile game. LOH is an intellectual output of the “Searching for the Labours of Hercules” (SFTLOH) project supported by the European Union Erasmus+ Program Key Action 2, Mixed Strategic Partnership for School Education. A total of 8 institutions (5 high schools, 1 non-governmental organization, and 2 universities) collaborated under the leadership of Mehmet Çelikel High School in Zonguldak / Turkey. Erasmus+ Project: Searching for the Labours of Hercules Project SFTLOH is based on the mythological story of Hercules and his travels throughout Europe to complete the Twelve Labours. The Labours of Hercules represents the common heritage of European countries and aims to promote common heritage amongst cultural diversity and common heritage of the 6 partner countries of Turkey, Romania, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Hungary. The focus of Project SFTLOH is the integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning processes. For this purpose, various opportunities for improving and facilitating the use of technology in instructional processes were provided to teachers and students. ICT related workshops were given to teachers and students and two intellectual outputs were designed by two partner universities. These outputs were planned to produce qualitative examples of the use of ICT for learning. In this study, we will focus on one of these two examples, the LOH mobile game. Educational games have been used in teaching since the 1980s and demand for educational games has not diminished over the years. On one hand, technology, especially mobile technology, has grown enormously while on the other learners of today have become defined as the game generation. Such developments have made mobile games an inevitable part of not just for daily life but also education. In addition to creating an example of ICT integration into the learning environment in general, LOH was developed with the aim of producing a learning material for teaching mythology, in particular the story of the “12 Labours of Hercules”. The game was made up of 12 levels corresponding to one labour with each level beginning with the runner phase and ending with a boss fight. Each level included a challenge corresponding to that level’s labour. Usability studies in design process Through an integrated approach, the usability studies implemented for the LOH mobile game were performed in different phases of the design process in different devices by different users (Table 1). This study only includes the tests not performed by the game developers. Table 1: Usability studies in design process 1st Phase Paper Prototype 2nd Phase Digital Prototype 3rd Phase Version 1.0  Design Team Test  User Test  Expert Evaluation  Design Team Test (with test devices)  User Test (with test devices)  Design Team (with personal devices)  User Test (with personal devices)  User Test  Expert Evaluation
  3. 3. Baş, T., & Arkün-Kocadere, S. (2016). Usability studies of “Labours of Hercules”: The mythological mobile game. In G. Pop (Ed.). Proceedings of the Contemporary World Challenges for the European Citizen Conference (pp. 310-313). Cluj-Napoca, Romania. 1st Phase – Paper Prototype The first usability studies were performed progressively using a paper prototype by 3 members of the design team, 5 students representing the target group, and 1 expert. The game’s main screens were presented to all testers. The aim of this test was to determine any complicated or problematic parts of the user interface and to solve any resultant issues. The majority of the items reported as problematic were buttons, icons, and direction messages, as well as complexity of main page. After discussing this feedback with the graphic designers and coders, the design team made changes considering the usability test reports. At the end of the first phase, a digital prototype was developed. 2nd Phase – Digital Prototype In the 2nd phase, a draft of the digital version was tested by 3 members of the design team and 10 students representing the target group. First, test devices were used, both on the Android and IOS platforms, and users were asked to download the game and test it on their own devices. While few problems were determined in tests on the test devices, there were many technical problems on the personal devices. The majority of problems were about downloading, loading, and performance. Results of the phase 2 usability tests were reflected in Version 1.0 of the game. 3rd Phase – Version 1.0 Version 1.0 of the game (Appendix) was developed and uploaded to Google Play and the App Store. Usability tests of this version were completed by 7 students and 1 expert. Thanks to the previous tests, results were not related with technical issues in this phase but instead provided feedback for improving the user experience. Considering the tests in this phase, the determined problems were fixed in Version 1.1. 4th Phase – Target Group In the final phase usability studies with real users to improve the game regarding the thoughts of the target group are planned. Conclusion Usability studies performed on the LOH mobile game were completed during the design process through various methods and are planned for the end stage. In addition to the design team, 22 volunteer students and an expert participated in the studies. The majority of the usability problems were prevented and not presented to real users. As the usability studies started at the beginning of the design process and proceed progressively to the end, they served to prevent extra cost and time in the revision stages in addition to helping to lower the incidence of problems. While running tests without real users might be considered a limit of the study, the participation of volunteer students served to speed up the testing and fixing process. On the other hand, the real target group will be included in usability studies performed with the end product available on the mobile app markets in the 4th phase, also mitigating this limitation. Acknowledgment “Labours of Hercules” mobile game is funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union as a part of project “Searching for the Labours of Hercules” (2014-1- TR01-KA201- 012990) and Hacettepe University Scientific Research Coordination Unit with the project titled “Development of an Educational 3D Mobile Game” (SUA-2016- 9609)”. This educational game is designed and developed in cooperation with Pixega Game Studio.
  4. 4. Baş, T., & Arkün-Kocadere, S. (2016). Usability studies of “Labours of Hercules”: The mythological mobile game. In G. Pop (Ed.). Proceedings of the Contemporary World Challenges for the European Citizen Conference (pp. 310-313). Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Appendix: Screen shots of the game
  5. 5. Baş, T., & Arkün-Kocadere, S. (2016). Usability studies of “Labours of Hercules”: The mythological mobile game. In G. Pop (Ed.). Proceedings of the Contemporary World Challenges for the European Citizen Conference (pp. 310-313). Cluj-Napoca, Romania. REFERENCES Barnum, C. M. (2010). Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set, Test. Morgan Kaufmann. Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, D. G. & Beale, R. (2004). Human-Computer Interaction. (Third Edition). Prentice Hall. Dumas, J. S. & Redish, J. (1999). A Practical Guide to Usability Testing. Greenwood Publishing Group Inc. Westport, CT, USA. ISO 9241-11 (1998). Ergonomics Requirements for Office Work with Visual Display Terminals (vdts) part 11: Guidance on Usability. Rubin, J. & Chisnell, D. (2008). Handbook of Usability testing. (Second Edition). Wiley. USA Official Web Site of Usability. Retrieved December 19, 2016, from www.usability.gov

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