What to test
I guess what’s most important for me to test is if users are having fun engaging with my project as that’s my main aim. This objective of “having fun” can further be broken down into two parts, firstly if users are able to understand what’s the purpose of the project or what is happening in the project and secondly if they get a meaningful output. From my previous prototype testing
Testing Techniques and Users
For the testing techniques, I chose a combination of Cognitive Walkthrough and Playtesting, which I felt best suited my project.
As for users, I wanted to enlist people who like memes and would be interested in engaging with something that was related to memes. For this I asked a few friends and people with whom I often exchange memes as I thought they would be the best ones to get really excited about the idea, even as my project was not fully formed. I recruited 3 people and tested my current prototype with them.
About the test and users
I tested my prototype with 3 individuals, 2 of them were MBA students aged 28 and 29 years respectively. One was based in New York and the other in California. Both of them actively view and share memes on social media platforms. The third was a Product Designer aged 24, who lives in India and is also very active on social media platforms.
I invited the test participants for a zoom call in which I discussed my idea and work. Following this, I asked them to go through my prototype and talk about what they liked and disliked about it. Once they did it for the first time, I asked them to just go crazy and play around with it. I later gathered their feedback and thoughts on how they felt and what they thought worked and didn’t work.
While doing the tests, I realized that some memes worked wonderfully with the AIs while some didn’t really make sense. When the memes worked, the respondents got excited and wanted to try another, but in the cases when the AI just spurted out random sentences, they felt confused and even awkward. I also realized that unlike the previous prototype, this was doing a good job of helping users understand what they had to do, though in places I had to step in and explain some of the elements. Specifically, people did not understand what was the significance of the different AI personas that I was using. Another thing that people were confused by was what to do at the end. One of my participants was expecting something more to happen, but I had to step in and explain what had happened. I guess this was because the meme that he used did not work out very well with the prototype.
One thing that I was afraid of was that people would either not understand the project or not find it relevant. But it seems not only were they able to get what the project was doing but it excited them as well. As soon as they realized that it was a fun project involving memes, they stopped looking for relevance and instead started viewing it from a fun point of view. Even though my selection of users was biased (I had only involved users whom I personally knew to be interested in memes), I believe this to be a success. I don’t think my project is meant for each and every individual, but a certain specific target group, for whom I want this to be self explanatory and I felt confident that this was happening now.
One thing that is not completely working right now is the relevance of responses that are generated by AIs. I think I should work more on that. One suggestion given by Loretta was that I could create a repository of memes, one that has a selected and tested set of memes in it, which I know work well in my setting and ask users to select from them.
Overall, the results of the test were kind of what I was expecting. Even though people really liked the project idea and felt the context was very unique, at times in the test they found themselves confused especially when the memes that they used did not produce a good enough result. Going ahead, I think I’ll be working on this part of the project, to make this overall more engaging and exciting. I’ll have to figure out how to make users relate more to this as a concept and as an interactive project.
Evolved Concept Statement
I’m experimenting with a very different concept statement than from what I started with. My updated concept statement is below.
“Reconstructing History through Memes” is a research project that aims to understand more about the culture of ancient beings known as humans who inhabited the earth before the dawn of machines. Until recently we knew nothing about them, but a new discovery of a set of scripts, referred to in human history as MEMEs has thrown fresh light on this previously abandoned study. Machines with the best processors and the most diverse backgrounds have been selected to constantly analyze these Memes in an attempt to piece together the mysteries of this weird species.
I would like to get more feedback on this statement. I thought that since my project is about humor, why not involve some satirical writing in my process. I’ve written this concept statement from the point of view of my project’s subject which is a machine in the future. So “Reconstructing History through Memes” is not just the name of the project that I’m doing but also the name of the project that is being undertaken by machines in my speculative future.
Reflection on the current form of the project
I think I still have lots to do before I can feel satisfied with my project. I feel I arrived at the idea of what I wanted to do quickly but since then I’ve stuck on perfecting the execution. I should step back and put some time on looking at this project as a whole and put some efforts into filling in all the gaps. I still feel great about my topic and my progress, but do think that at this stage I need to put in some extra effort to make it very polished.