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Background

Based on feedback from user testing (see: PhET Faraday's Law - Gatech Interviews Notes), a number of issues were observed. This "Grab and Release" interaction sketch aims to address a number of these issues.

Observed IssueExample / RemarkGrab and Release Solution

Too many alerts

Every cursor key press and release would fire location text alerts

Location text alert now fired only on release of magnet.

Sonification will now be mostly uninterrupted.

Hard to concentrate on sounds and screen readerUsers often focus on the text alerts and miss the relationship between the magnet movement and the induced charge.

Sonification will now be mostly uninterrupted.

Most text alerts have been removed from movement interaction loop, with the exception of a coil bump and play area edge bump alerts.

Text alerts can be out of sync with the sonificationOften when a sound event happens, like a coil bump or induced charge, text alerts report the magnets location which can create confusion or incorrect associations.

Sonification will no longer compete with most text alerts, thus avoid any confusion.

Coil bumps now have a "Bumped coil" text alert.

Long alerts create cognitive loadA text alert can be very long (regardless of number of coils).

Alerts in general are now shorter and less complicated:

  • Removed play area location alerts.
  • Reduced the complexity of proximity and regions.
Long pauses in alerts causes users to stop listeningScreen readers will pause longer between sentences.Text alerts use less periods (more commas or concatenated phrase fragments).
Coil bump sound can sometimes be ambiguousSome users incorrectly associated the bump coil sound with a goal accomplishment (i.e. paraphrasing "I got the magnet into the coil, and that sound means I made it.").A single text alert now fires when a coil bump occurs ("Bumped coil").
Slide key instructions are often missedMost users did not use the slide keys.Introduce slide key instructions on later magnet grabs (as to not compete with other instructions, and reduce cognitive load).
Not clear to some users how to begin moving the magnetThe magnet button cue wasn't strong, and located in an unintuitive spot in the PDOM.
  • Better label and aria-description for better cueing ("Grab Magnet" and "Select this to move the magnet").
  • Button to grab the magnet is now located in the Controls Area list with other controls.


Issues not yet addressed:

Observed IssueExample / RemarkNotes
Unclear what sliding doesWhen sliding occurs, the sim can be rather silent.
  • Is this a concern? Users may not have used it sufficiently to gain clarity
  • Are there magnet movement sounds when sliding occurs? (i.e. movement ticks).
Unclear what voltmeter doesA number of users did know what the voltmeter was for.
  • Is this a concern? Most users will use FL in context of a learning unit.
  • The voltmeter could be defined in the description instead (i.e. "Voltmeter - measures the positive / negative charge flowing through the circuit.")
  • The voltmeter is initially available - AP suggested it should be hidden by default
Unclear about use of field linesTurning on field lines has no immediate perceivable effect.
  • Currently the design only updates the "Magnetic Field Lines" description as the magnet moves.
  • Should the field strength be added to the text alert when magnet is released?


Notes:

  • how to help users replicate what they have done
  • how to help users compare results
  • how is it possible to track last major events?
  • Conveying voltage information:
    • put a description in the PDOM
    • somehow add description to the alert: use a similar 3-point description as lightbulb
      • "small / big / very big" "negative" "flux / voltage / ?"
      • "voltage big positive" "big positive volts" ?
      • "small positive change" > "small change"
      • add a description in the PDOM to help with cueing of text alert
        • voltmeter described as "measures voltage changes in circuit"
        • voltmeter text alert "small positive change" (initially) > "small change"
  • AT reads focus when released
  • Tab moves focus and AT will announce label of next item. (be wary of possible confusion)
  • put the coil orientation in the scene summary.

PDOM Example

Faraday's Law (h2, Scene Summary)

Faraday's Law‬ is an interactive sim. It changes as you play with it.

At the centre of the play area (is a coil / are two coils) connected to a light bulb circuit. There is a also moveable bar magnet.

In the circuit are a:

  • 4 loop coil
  • 2 loop coil (if attached)
  • light bulb
  • voltmeter (if attached)

The coil is sideways, with openings on the left and right.


One coilTwo coils different field strengthsTwo coils same field strengthsField strength values
(field strength) magnetic field at the 4 loop coil.(field strength) magnetic field at the 2 loop coil, (field strength) magnetic field at the 4 loop coil.(field strength) magnetic field at both 2 loop and 4 loop coil.

Strong

Moderate

Weak

(question) merge circuit and field lines description to a "snap shot" summary.

(question) Idea: Last peak reading on voltmeter: x negative (x positive)

Grab the magnet to play.

Additional controls that change what is connected to the circuit, flip the bar magnet, and reset the sim. If needed, check out keyboard shortcuts under Sim Resources.

Play Area (h2)

Bar Magnet (h3)

The bar magnet is left of 2 loop coil, far from 4 loop coil below.

(First sentence in this description is the same as Magnet Release Text Alerts (see below), except the word "Released" is replaced with "The bar magnet is".)

North pole on left. South pole on right.

(Polarity according to whether or not it's flipped).

(Button Label: "Grab magnet")

(question) Insert instructions on cursor moves and sliding. Make sure to mention that they have to grab first "once grabbed".

Controls Area (h2)

  • Checkbox
    • Label: "Voltmeter"
    • Aria description: "Play with or without voltmeter connected to light bulb circuit"
  • Checkbox
    • Label: "Field Lines"
    • Aria description: "Hide or show magnetic field lines."
  • Circuit mode
    • Aria description: "Experiment with one or two coils."
    • Radio button group
      • (Radio) 1 coil
      • (Radio) 2 coils
  • Button
    • Label: "Flip magnet"
    • Aria description: "Flip North and South Poles"
  • Button
    • Label: "Reset All"

Text Alerts

EventAlert text
Grab magnet: 1st and 2nd time"Grabbed, W A S D keys move in 4 directions. Press Space to release."
Grab magnet: 3rd - 5th time"Grabbed, try 1 2 3 keys to slide different speeds left and right. Press Shift to stop slide. Press Space to release."
Grab magnet: 6th time"Grabbed, also see keyboard shortcuts under Sim Resources. Press Space to release."
Grab magnet: 7th time"Grabbed. Press Space to release."
Release magnet"(Magnet Release Text Alert)" See below.
Bump Coil"Bumped coil"
Bump Edge"At edge of play area."
Bulb brightness event

"Bulb dim" "Bulb Bright" "Bulb Very Bright"

"Dim / bright / very bright"

Magnet Release Text Alerts

The following diagram depicts the different text alerts fired when the magnet is released.

Unlike previous designs (and implementations), the alert strings are static and depends only on the location of the magnet in the play area when released.

The key implementation detail is being able to determine the center of the 4 loop coil, and boundaries of the two coils so the different regions can be defined.

Region #Magnet Release Alert Text
1

“Released at top left of play area, far from coil.”

2“Released at top centre of play area, far from coil.”
3

“Released at top right of play area, far from coil.”

4“Released far from coil below.”
5, 6, 7

“Released, 4 loop coil below.”

8

“Released far from 4 loop coil below.”

9“Released left of 4 loop coil below.”
10“Released, very close to 4 loop coil below.”
11“Released right of 4 loop coil below.”
12“Released left of 4 loop coil.”
13

“Released, just left of 4 loop coil.”

14“Released inside 4 loop coil.”
15

“Released, just right of 4 loop coil.”

16“Released right of 4 loop coil.”
17

“Released at bottom left of play area, far from coil.”

18“Released at bottom-centre of play area, far from coil.”
19

“Released at bottom right of play area, far from coil.”


Region #Magnet Release Alert Text
1

“Released at top left of play area, far from both coils.”

2

“Released above 2 loop coil, Far from 4 loop coil.”

3

“Released at top right of play area, far from both coils.”

4

“Released left of 2 loop coil, far from 4 loop coil below.”

5

“Released just left of 2 loop coil, 4 loop coil below.”

6

“Released inside 2 loop coil.”

7

“Released just right of 2 loop coil, 4 loop coil below.”

8

“Released right of 2 loop coil, far from 4 loop coil below.”

9“Released left of both coils. 2 loop coil above, 4 loop coil below.”
10“Released very close to both coils. 2 loop coil above, 4 loop coil below.”
11

“Released right of both coils. 2 loop coil above, 4 loop coil below.”

12

“Released left of 4 loop coil, far from 2 loop coil above.”

13

“Released just left of 4 loop coil, 2 loop coil above.”

14“Released inside 4 loop coil.”
15

“Released just right of 4 loop coil, 2 loop coil above.”

16

“Released right of 4 loop coil, far from 2 loop coil above.”

17

“Released at bottom left of play area, far from both coils.”

18

“Released below 4 loop coil, Far from 2 loop coil.”

19

“Released at bottom right of play area, far from both coils.”

Example Text Alert Interaction

First and Second time grabbing magnet (WASD prompt on grab)

  • Pressed tab.
    • Focus moved to magnet
    • Screen reader would announce button label ("Grab magnet") and associated aria-describedby text ("Select this to move the magnet").
  • Press enter.
    • Text alert: "Grabbed (location), W A S D keys move in 4 directions, press Space to release."
  • 1 2 3, or cursor keys pressed
    • Sonification sounds are heard
    • Bump Coil ("Bumped coil") and Bump Edge ("At edge of play area") alerts fired if occurred.
    • Changes to PDOM descriptions occur as interaction proceeds.
  • Press space.
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus is on magnet button.
  • If Tab is pressed
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus moves to next focusable item.

Third to Fifth time grabbing magnet (Slide prompt on grab)

  • Pressed tab.
    • Focus moved to magnet
    • Screen reader would announce button label ("Grab magnet") and associated aria-describedby text ("Select this to move the magnet").
  • Press enter.
    • Text alert: "Grabbed (location), try 1 2 3 keys slide different speeds left and right. Press Space to release."
  • 1 2 3, or cursor keys pressed
    • Sonification sounds are heard
    • Bump Coil ("Bumped coil") and Bump Edge ("At edge of play area") alerts fired if occurred.
    • Changes to PDOM descriptions occur as interaction proceeds.
  • Press space.
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus is on magnet button.
  • If Tab is pressed
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus moves to next focusable item.

Sixth time grabbing magnet (Keyboard help prompt on grab)

  • Pressed tab.
    • Focus moved to magnet
    • Screen reader would announce button label ("Grab magnet") and associated aria-describedby text ("Select this to move the magnet").
  • Press enter.
    • Text alert: "Grabbed (location), also see keyboard shortcuts under Sim Resources. Press Space to release."
  • 1 2 3, or cursor keys pressed
    • Sonification sounds are heard
    • Bump Coil ("Bumped coil") and Bump Edge ("At edge of play area") alerts fired if occurred.
    • Changes to PDOM descriptions occur as interaction proceeds.
  • Press space.
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus is on magnet button.
  • If Tab is pressed
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus moves to next focusable item.

Seventh time on-wards (Shortened grab alert)

  • Pressed tab.
    • Focus moved to magnet
    • Screen reader would announce button label ("Grab magnet") and associated aria-describedby text ("Select this to move the magnet").
  • Press enter.
    • Text alert: "Grabbed (location). Press Space to release."
  • 1 2 3, or cursor keys pressed
    • Sonification sounds are heard
    • Bump Coil ("Bumped coil") and Bump Edge ("At edge of play area") alerts fired if occurred.
    • Changes to PDOM descriptions occur as interaction proceeds.
  • Press space.
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus is on magnet button.
  • If Tab is pressed
    • Text alert: "(Magnet Release Text Alert)" according to the magnet location as depicted in diagram above.
    • Keyboard focus moves to next focusable item.


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