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Things I'm working on and thinking about

After several more rounds of user testing with my kits, I’ve developed a few more to-dos and overall conclusions:

1. The participants needed a lot of guidance and direct instruction to complete the kits. The written materials were very supplementary, although most participants did follow along with them. Given the amount of reassurance and encouragement needed for many users, I believe that these kits must be used as part of a workshop unless the user is very motivated.


2. After the initial tests, I reduced the number of planned activities to basic LED stuff followed by the moisture sensor. This worked much better and reduced fatigue while allowing users more time for questions and discussion.

3. I need to find more compelling examples of projects that a general audience of users might actually want to do, even if it’s just a simple LED device. Ideally, I’d like to be able to leave programmed chips with them so that they can have a tangible “takeaway.”

4. Perhaps because so many of the users expressed doubts about their abilities, they also told me that they wanted to shared their accomplishment with family members (especially younger friends and family). One motivation for using the kits might simply be to do something “cool” and “techie.”


5. Making simple changes to the breadboards by color coding the rows drastically improved usability. The snaps are still a bit small, but seem to be an improvement over jumper wires. The color-coding, overall, is very handy. I might solder a ground wire directly to the GND pin, since the ground snaps had a tendency to detach (since they were used the most).

6. Older users seem very tentative with a constructivist framework, possibly because they “don’t want to break anything.” These is a common fear when testing new technology and I’m not sure how to best encourage them to just go for it and be inventive.