WP2 Prototyping

Co-creation workshops

Four co-creation workshops were held in the Netherlands between the years 2010 and 2011. During these workshops a group of six to eight Dutch seniors provided insight in their daily lives through building solutions to challenges that arose from the ethnographic studies conducted by the Copenhagen Living Lab. The sessions resulted in themes for concept development.

Concept development sessions

Regular internal meetings facilitated the creative process within the Waag Society’s team. In these sessions the input from partners was also discussed and implemented. Especially the personas and the challenges that come with transitions in the ageing process provided inspiration to the design team. This resulted in three concept directions: Spirited network, Mirror Mail and Do you remember? All these three directions have been visualized throughgraphics.

Do you remember?’ was selected for further development by the partners because the game format is a natural setting for social connectedness as it invites people to play around with the game and each other. The name was changed into Play With Your Life (PWYL), which was going to be a series of gamesall of which involve personal media contentin order to address the different user preferences.

The design team came up with five different game concepts that have been detailed in scenarios and use cases. These served as discussion topics inreview sessions with the project partners. The game concepts were tested with paper prototypes within the team first, then with colleagues or elderly from the neighborhood, and in the international context and, finally,elaborated into interactive demonstrations by end of the year 2010.

Prototype development

The Waag Society developed various interactive prototypes throughout the project.A prototype is a representation of a future application that illustrates parts of its functionality. The purpose of the prototypes was to evaluate and test functionality and new ideas with users. Observations and users’ suggestions were used by Waag Society to improve the game play and make better prototypes. Twodifferent types of prototypeswere developed:

  1. Experience prototypes:Games with pen and paper to test potential impact, strengths and weaknesses of three game concepts
  2. iPad demonstrators:Work-in-progress versionsof the games on the iPad to assess content and game mechanics

Small-scale user evaluations

Apart from the input from tests and trials conducted by the project partners, the Waag Society’s team also organized local user sessions with the iPad demonstrations. Several sessions in the office helped to quickly test changes in the game, and user sessions in people’s homes provided the design team with insight in the use of the games in a natural context.

Development of the final prototypes

Thedemonstrations were further developed into fully working games that could be used and evaluated in field trials. In this process, the game developers, graphic designers and concept developers worked closely together. In total,the developers have released four iterations of the game.Each release was made available to the project partners for testing and evaluation purposes. The results of user tests and expert evaluations were used to improve the usability and user experience in the next iteration.

Content development

Apart from the game mechanics and usability aspects of the game, special attention was paid to the development of the game content. A photo therapist provided insights in which type of pictures andwhat kind of questions are good triggers for storytelling. Based on her suggestions and theories, a set of images and questions were selected and provided as a paper prototype for a focus group session. The aim of the session was to identify the strengths and weaknesses in gameplay, pictures and game questions.

Since the games had to be played in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, an external party was involved to provide translations in the three local languages during the autumn of 2012. Especially the conversion into Finnish was a challenge as itsstructureis very different from the other languages and this affected the way the sentences had to be presented on the interface.

Making the game available via the App Store

The real proof lies in the commercial availability of the game through the App Store. In order to be accepted in the App Store the application had to go through a review and approval process. One of the requirements for the App Store is a website with further information on the games, which has been made available via: www.storyvillestudios.com.In addition, a promotional video for the games was made. All three games have been accepted for the App Store during the spring of 2013, so today‘real’ users that were not recruited by the consortium partners are able to download, play and evaluate the game – which is of course the ultimate test for the project.

The games use audiovisual material and photographs derived from the personal lives of the players (graduation, family holidays etc.) and from events inour collective history (a royal wedding, a famous TV show etc.). The players add the personal material themselves through social media such as Facebook. Collective images are supplied as part of the game.