Finally after a lot of project and design changes we are approaching the starting line of testing. Right now one prototype is ready to go. We just have to set up the server and upload the content. We decided that on-site testing was the best choice for our purposes. Since we are dealing with online content and games, it makes more sense to leave the subjects undisturbed in their offices and homes and give them freedom to take part in the test at their discretion. We also count on reaching a much wider user base via mailing lists.
Initially we are going to test only one game, the one developed in conjunction with Distill Interactive, while later on we will include the card game developed by the OIT at our university.
We have prepared two surveys that will be delivered before and after the test. The test itself will consist of either reading a web page or playing the game. We have three variations of the web page. One is a list of articles organized by area, one is a chronological order of facts and one is a story. We tried to simulate a couple of approaches that readers find while navigating online news pages. And we added the organized page to simulate the organization that the game presents. So we could have something closer to the game, to make a more fair comparison.
Each subject will access only one of the four options. And we will distribute the users equally among the pages and game.
Another important change that we made to the game was to change the setting. Originally the player covered the role of a reporter working for an news agency. After some thinking and a discussing with professor Ian Bogost, we decided to change the story. Now the player covers the role of a legislator. The reason for this change was mainly due to the fact it seemed more interesting putting the reader in the shoes of a legislator. Since legislators have to take into account all the parties that will be affected by new laws. (or at least that’s the way it is supposed to be…)
So hopefully next time I will be able to write about some of the first results will we gather in the next month or so.