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Early Questions

  • Identifying 2 key areas:

    • Can we learn what scaffolds are needed through physical play?

    • If given an approximate model, can we identify supports needed to facilitate free-form track construction for a wide spectrum of users?

      • Add predefined track pieces which can be put together.

      • Or the ability to start from an existing track and you can change it.

  • What kind of feedback does physical play provide that is useful for users?
    • i.e. is the tactile and sound key signals?
    • Are there things about physical play that is limiting that could be implemented in digital forms? I.e. being able to play / pause / adjust?
  • Are the sounds created by physical play enough to orient a non-sighted user? (i.e. is sonification enough?)
  • What is the core play loop?
    • The core play loop = ability to easily adjust, tweak, and see consequences?
    • what kind of controls and feedback does the sim need to provide in order to keep it fun?
    • "fun" is subjective
      • people play in different ways. How is this accommodated?

Notes from Co-Design Session w 7 y.o. #2


Set number of marble run pieces:

  • some slides
  • some vertical connector pieces
  • a "starting cup"
  • two "finishing cups"
  • two marbles

Video camera

Discovery and Play

Task 1: Build the shortest Marble Run track you can with a starting and end cup.

Task 2: Build the longest Marble Run track you can.

Task 3: How can you make this marble run go faster.


  • How did you make the marble go faster? Why did you make those changes?
  • What can you do to make the marble go even faster? What would you need to do?
  • What is it about those pieces that make the marble go faster?
  • Do you find that the pieces are enough? What else would you want?
  • Would it have been better there was a big box of track pieces and you can pick your own?


Task: Now let's pretend we want to make a video game of "this".

  • What would that look like?
  • How would you play with it?
  • What pieces are there?
  • Tell a story of how a friend might play the game on a computer or tablet.
  • What if you're in a library and you're not allowed to have the sound on, what happens to the game?
  • What if you're in the middle of playing and suddenly the screen glitches - how would you continue playing the game then?

Older Notes

  1. Co-design on Energy Skate Park (ESP). (Introduce ESP at this point?) 2 groups?
    • Taking the ideas and designs they had from step 3 (and 4?), ask what they would change about ESP
    • Try to cover the following areas:
      • Control - keyboard or controller, free-form movement, move on a grid, movement by landmarks?
      • Auditory - sonification, verbal feedback, text descriptions
      • Track construction - ease of use, pre-defined pieces
      • Graphs - is it understood? what would help you understand it better? describe it in words? describe it using sounds.
  2. ask them to unpack some of their thinking to see if they are starting to understand the physics behind the toy
    • i.e. "what did you do to make the thing travel faster, launch farther, etc."
    • "Why did you choose those pieces to make the marble go faster?"
    • "Why did you choose those pieces to make the marble go the slowest?"
  3. start asking questions / tasks which are parallel to the digital sim. i.e.
    • Close your eyes. Reconfigure the track. Run the car / marble. Before opening their eyes, ask them to describe the track. (Sonification and audio cues)
    • Ask them what they think about the selection of pieces. What they like other pieces? What if you had a magical piece which you can stretch into whatever you want, would you still want the fixed pieces? (Single flexible track piece, vs. preset pieces).
  4. Taking the ideas from each of their designs, dive deeper into some of the gnarlier design issues:

        • What would the game be like if the audio was turned off?
        • What would the game be like if you were to play it with just the headphones and no screen?
        • How would you control it using a joystick / video game console controller?
      • Active prototyping (same tools as in step 3):
        • Draw a picture.
        • Map it out in "2D" using the actual pieces from the toy.
        • Talk-aloud
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