In second year Brightsquare project, we needed to user test our first prototype to get some feedback and find out what to improve. Our tutor Andrea showed us few methods of evaluating a prototype, one of them capture my interest a lot – Wizzard of Oz.Idea behind it is, that user interacts with a product/system, and gets output or feedback from it, which he should (in the ideal case) believe is generated by the product, but in fact it’s generated live by people behind it. There was no need to disguise as as the “prototype operators”, so we went for this method sticking to simple pre-made parts of the screen-based interaction.

First prototype

I thought we should do this in considerable scale, so I made a ~4x4m black ground which should feel as the black screen, on which the user would walk. I made the graphic elements – events displayed on a circle + info bubbles associated with all these events. We invited two participants in the beginning, to test our first prototype. From the evaluation, we found out that our circle of events made from cardboards makes the user scared to step on it, since they fear destroying it. The events were also too large and hard to reach by foot. We also got rid of the idea of filling the intersections of user’s paths with colours and just sticked to unique user footsteps.

Second prototype

Taking the feedback and observations from the first prototype, we tested the second one with smaller events graphics and the improvement could have been felt. Our user even took out his smartphone and scanned a QR code on one event – great!

Wizzard of Oz is very hands-on, and also naturally enjoyable and entertaining prototyping method that I can highly recommend. It might be more related to product design and preferable to use on projects which take larger size in physical size, but I can imagine uses for digital sphere as well.

Take a look at the final video presenting our concept.