Tail Wagging and User Testing

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shota/tailly-the-tail-that-wags-when-you-get-excited?ref=category

This idea basically has no chance of being popular in my lifetime.  Let me start by saying that, because I don’t want anyone to be confused here. That said, this is an absolutely brilliant idea.https://i2.wp.com/sphotos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/380572_400645670012867_550368267_n.jpg

Designing interfaces and experiences have a lot to do with designing expected feelings.  A website for a lawyer is meant to be serious and professional while a game application is meant to be fun and enjoyable.  This idea tries to show how people feel with non-verbal communication.  The design is built with sensors that determine how you feel and then respond depending on feelings.  This is a really wonderful concept for user experience designers.

How does “X” make you feel and what are the repercussions of that feeling?  This is the basis of many user experience studies and research methods.  A/B testing, perhaps the most widely used method, is really based on this same principle.  If I write “Buy Now!” or “Now is the time to Buy!” will it make a difference on how many people choose to buy?  Measuring feelings through sensors like the one used in this Kickstarter campaign might eventually be a way to answer these kinds of questions in an inexpensive way.

If the technology for determining feelings is used with computer software, rather than hardware that makes a tail wag, then it might be possible to do remote style testing through iPhone software.  The user would turn on their monitor, use the website or application, and their feelings would be instantly recorded.  Maybe a user would say they enjoyed a website, but the data would show that it made them anxious.  Users cannot always be counted on to tell the truth, nor can they always be counted on to be able to say explicitly what they want or how they feel.

One of the reasons that eye-tracking has become such a critical instrument in user testing is that it eliminates subjective speech.  Having participated as an eye-tracker, I know that it is amazing to watch *where* your eyes actually look on a page.  https://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/assets/000/279/514/cba772b4510c04ca694035582d49845c_large.jpg?1353926755If asked later “Why didn’t you click on that button?” a user might respond “I didnt’ want to” when in actuality they didn’t actually see it.  Eye tracking shows exactly what people see, so the element of doubt about what they say they saw can be eliminated.

Using this same idea, charting reaction could become a critical aspect of user testing.  “Tailly” measures heart rate.  Lie detector tests, which are far more invasive, detect far more than just heart rate.  Both have a similar idea despite different end uses. The idea for both, however, is to chart and use human emotions for a specific purpose. Tailly is mainly for fun while lie detector tests are far more serious. What if the purpose from the start was user testing?  Then what kind of product would we see?

 

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