Teaching students how to prototype games and improve them by collecting and implementing user feedback.
In 2016, Children’s Day School launched its Innovation Lab for middle schoolers to engage in collaborative, experiential learning and tinkering through an iterative design process. For one of their projects, students created games for younger students to play at an upcoming school-wide event. EchoUser partnered with CDS to help incorporate user research into their design process and, specifically, to prepare students to test their games with users.
After the workshop concluded, students held these takeaways in mind as they continued working on their prototypes, discussion guides, and testing structure to address some of the challenges they experienced before meeting with the seven-year-olds. The following changes were made to the testing protocol:
- Have three users at each game for five minutes
- Spread the games around the room to prevent users from going back and forth
- Create a fourth station to brainstorm additional game ideas so that students were engaged in an alternate activity while they weren’t testing a game.
Jeri Countryman, Director of the Innovation Lab, commented:
“For me, one of the major takeaways for the students is knowing that the work they are doing is an authentic process. I also think that many of the students realized that the prototypes of their games can continue to be improved with user feedback… The session worked really well and the seventh graders all said they left with ideas on how to improve their games — and all the second graders said they want to make games!”
EchoUser is excited to see how the students absorbed and executed user research methods and experienced the impact of user feedback. We hope that exposure to user research in middle school will support these students in appreciating the value of observation, empathy, and designing for others — not just themselves — in future projects and beyond.