User research has been the heart of our work for every project but I mainly and more extensively for Biometric Feedback. This project had many stages for user research including the initial desk-based research on depression and how people visualise it, through to basic user testing with the choosing of the creature, to the final product prototyping. As we were not able to test with the target audience, the therapists and clients recommended that we conduct user research with people without diagnosed depression (and therefore avoiding the rabbit-hole of obtaining permission and consent).
We began the first stage of the user test fairly early, after I had created various artist impressions by simply asking our surrounding classmates which creature they most associated with depression. Once we had filtered through the selection, we were left two victors, the red creature and the black creature. We then let our Instagram followers choose the decisive champion via a poll, the outcome being the red creature.
Some of the desk research pointed to colour having an effect on users. We wanted the creature to appear neutral and to then slowly progress towards becoming more positive. Therefore we decided to conduct user testing to answer two questions: Do colours have the same effect in multitudes of contexts? Which colours can we use to create the effects we were looking for using the monster and the context? The test was made up of 3 stages. The first stage being that the user would choose three flat colours from a given colour palette and to place them accordingly on a scale of neutral to more positive on a 2d platform. In The second stage, we had them choose three colours form the same palette, that would this time be applied to the initial concept art of the chosen creature which then had to be placed in order of neutral to more positive. And the last stage was again the users choosing three colours from the same colour swatches that were this time applied to the creature in a 3d environment and to put them in order ranging from neutral to positive.
The result were almost completely the same with light blue being the most neutral colour, yellow being in between the two and then green being most positive. Which was then applied to the final colour to the texture within unity. This research resulted in the complete elimination of the initial chosen colour which was red.
Another user research conducted was done with Maria in which we would interview candidate while they were wearing the biometric sensors and ask them a series of personal questions ranging from positive to negative questions in order to gather data based upon the intensity of negative vs positive emotions. Although this was not used in the creation of the tool, we solely did it to examine the effectiveness of the tool we created. This would then help us improve and enhance in future if we decide to expand on it. This user tests result can help us continue working on the project beyond the criteria and what is expected.