What We Learned: Focus Groups for SocialFLO v0.1.0
Easy to Use
I think any company’s goal should be to make their product simple and easy to use, and in that respect SF v0.1.0 was a success. However, more than a couple of our focus group members described the prototype as “basic”. They wanted more out of the app than what we were showing them. For example, when adjusting the length of time a notification would be displayed, we originally had ‘one slider to rule them all’. Since then, many users have requested the ability to individually control each notifications’ duration of display . This additional control feature benefits the user who needs to tweak their settings on a micro-level -- reading a song name in Shazam may take less time than, say, a text message.
We did uncover some confusing inconsistencies in our language. For example, one user stated “a status is something I read, and setting is something I change”. We’ve resolved similar issues in the current version. Additionally, there were some areas of semantical confusion. For example, “brightness” has now been changed to “eyewear brightness” and “eyewear information” has now been changed to “about eyewear” -- some people were getting “eyewear information” confused with notifications.
Not Very Powerful
Piggybacking on the previous section, there were many members’ comments on what to do with this app after initial setup. Though socialFLO is a companion app that stores settings for our digital eyewear and augmented reality products, its design was intended to be based more on the ‘settings side’ rather than the ‘companion side’. Some even said that they would view themselves as 'power users' and they would feel somewhat left out. For example, when it comes to the mod store many wanted the ability to search for mods (yes, we left out search), and the ability to scroll through suggested mods rather having to click “more”. Some wanted a bit more configurability than what we had to offer. Others suggested we show more information on the home screen, such as battery charge and connectivity. We are now rethinking the app and making changes to it so that is more of a companion app. Expect a major change to this in v0.1.2
Contrast Issues with Older Eyes
LAFORGE Optical is a young company, run by “young dudes”, in a young field, but what about those “old guys” whose eyes have taken in years of experience? We needed to make changes -- our "Grey, on dark grey, on black" theme was proving a challenge for some of our members. In v0.1.1, we have made the background darker on the home screen and left it the same on other screens as a way to A-B test this change. We also changed the font and increased the size of text, and made the buttons on the home screen a shade of white. Additionally, in certain settings menus, we made the background of selectable items darker.
“Arrange Mods” needs a rethink
The current version of socialFLO being tested is a prototype, and like all prototypes they have some limitations. We ran up against some of these limitations when it came to our “arrange mods” schema. The idea was that users would drag and drop mods into place and be able to group them into themes by arranging panes. Considering the limitations of the prototype , the general consensus among testers was that, it took too long to eventually figure out how to arrange mods and panes. . As a result, we disabled it in version v0.1.1 and will attempt to bring it back in v0.1.2 or v0.1.3. We also are breaking up 'arrange mods' and 'arrange panes' into two separate options to see if this makes things more intuitive. A few people wanted us to experiment with some skeuomorphic concepts; we are now creating those concepts.
In settings “display” is now “eyewear display”
“Brightness” is now “eyewear brightness”, moved to settings>eyewear display
SocialFLO icon now links to home screen
“Eyewear info” is now “about eyewear”
Arrange mods function temporarily disabled
Phone status bar added to the top of screen
In mod store, popular, categories, featured tabs moved to higher position on screen
Search function added to mod store
Background on home screen made darker
Color change on buttons on home screen
Eyewear battery indicator moved to lower part of screen
Eyewear connection status displayed
Added remaining battery time indicator
Bluetooth button replaced by eyewear brightness
Colors changed for list items so that once selected they are dark grey instead of off-white
Corey Mack is the CEO & Head of Design of LAFORGE Optical, a company in which he founded to make augmented reality more of a "digital eyewear" product than a "consumer electronics" product.
This blog post may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to change with new developments, or as more information is discovered.