As mentioned in a blogposting before, we visited the Bodelschwinghschule (Primary School in Münster) last Thursday and Friday to make our first usability test for our activity software. Our little test candidates were attending the forth class (highest class degree at a Primary School here in Germany), so they represented a good mean for our target group (kids from 8–12 years).
After a short introduction what Geoinformatics is about, we took out two pupils for each test cycle — one laptop per child ;o). During the test the rest of the class performed Google Earth exercises on a customized Wii-Balance Board.
The test design was focused on the geocaching plugin. We placed some geocaches on the schoolground in the morning. At the beginning of the test we described the task as performing a treasure hunt.
Giving one laptop per child, we observed how the kids were using the laptop and the tools of the activity. The first view was a quite big extent of the world (including Africa and Europe). The current position was marked on the map, so the first task to solve was doing pan and zoom action to get to the extent of their schoolground — a quite hard task for children in that age, though, meaning to overbridge several zoom steps (world, Europe, Germany, NRW, Münster, quarter, schoolground).
During the test we pinned down our observations, e.g. how long it took to perform zoom or pan action, finding the cache itself, respectively. After the test we went over a general questionare, to get an idea of the map use and computer experiences, etc. the kids already have.
On Friday we decided to take two kids per laptop (four kids per cycle) due to time reasons. At the end 16 of 22 children had the chance to test the software. Its a pity that not every child had the chance using the XO laptop, though all the children were very excited to use it. In the end we did a usual geocaching (with a normal GPS handheld device) with all the children, so hopefully no one was sad.
The results of our test will be available soon.