Below are videos taken from a number of participants acting as an early form of “user testing”, an HCI term I am borrowing for purposes of illustration. Strictly speaking it is not classic user testing as no official ethnographic studies were carried out – research questions were not formulated or posed, nor any user interviews or recorded user feedback carried out. However as a form of open ended user feedback the “experiments” (another value laden term in classic research) proved useful and also underlined the value of exposing the system to more participants in the form of the forthcoming workshops.
Applying a form of auto-ethnographic analysis I observed that new participants highlighted the differences between someone versed with using the system (myself) and its constraints such as tracking speed and coherence of body mapping.
New users pushed the limits of the system and gave positive feedback on “glitches” I had tried to avoid – such as system mis-tracking resulting in a limb jumping out of place or characters contorting in an unrealistic fashion.
Verbal feedback of female participants puppeteering a male and a female character also proved interesting. One performer commented on the challenge she felt on becoming the surfer dude character – visually judging them as the sort of person she would not want to talk to in every day life. This observation suggests a series of further tests and the creation of a range characters that people might feel uncomfortable with.
Another female participant commented on the feeling of alienation of appearing as a male, stating that she knew she was a woman and not a male so felt a strong disconnection with the projected character, the same participant from her comments appeared to feel more disturbed when taking on the realistic female character in a bathing costume, and used the term uncanny without prompting. Such reactions might also be connected with “cognitive dissonance”. However if I wished to analyse peoples reactions to taking on differing projected genders from a psychological perspective I would need to bring in expert help.