Xbox One - The Ultimate Usability Testing Platform?
So I recently created the first full 360º Mobile Usability lab at Transamerica and it occurred to me whilst playing Titanfall, that the Xbox One is not just an excellent gaming console, it could actually be a robust state of the art mobile usability lab if set up correctly and the technology allows it to do so. Let me explain.
Kinect Sensor - Camera 1
By the time I have sat down and picked up my controller, I am automatically logged in due to the kinect's facial recognition capabilities and presented with the dashboard. Incredible stuff. This could be used to capture the participants emotions and behaviors. Even their heart rate based on the fitness applications available. Your heart rate increases when you get excited, anxious or angry so you could potentially see how your app or website ties to a specific emotion. Lets say participant A is having a tough time figuring out where that button is.. The kinect would be able to see an increase in heart rate which would validate the fact that the test is frustrated.
So one of the best features of the Xbox is that you have the ability to talk to your Xbox. I can simply walk into the room and say 'Xbox on' and sure enough, i hear the little jingle and it boots up.
I can then go onto say a bunch of other voice commands that can quickly navigate to games, apps and other sections of the OS. One of my favorite voice commands is the ability to record clips. I would simply say 'Xbox record that' and my xbox would record what ever just happened and what is currently happening on the screen during a gaming session of sorts. Now what if their was the capability to record for as long as you needed. Perhaps you could record an entire testing session. It would be kind of cool to be able to give the xbox commands as the testing is going on. This leads me onto something even more interesting but I'll come to that later. Let's just say what if the moderator was not even present and is able to ask questions elsewhere, either in another room or another country for that matter. The possibilities are endless.
Live streaming capabilities:
Twitch is a live streaming video platform that is owned by amazon and although the site primarily focuses on gaming, it can broadcast to millions of people live, has actual text chat and you can view the user playing the video game. Now what if that user was perhaps the moderator walking the user through the testing questions. talking to the participant in another room or part of the world for that matter. You could basically
Talk about having an audience who can make comments on the screen - give live feedback or ask questions.
Another great feature of the xbox one is the HDMI passthough functionality. This enables you to run any device that uses an HDMI output to integrate into the xbox OS. Hence Direct tv or your Playstation 4. So I actually tried running apple TV through the xbox one and used the mirroring setting on my phone to project the phone screen onto the tv screen. It worked very well. Here is a video showing you the result.
For Ipevvo Document Camera - Camera 2. (Record hand gestures)
I currently use the USB port on the side of the Xbox for charging my controller but this could easily be utilized for the document camera. This is the only broken link due to the fact their is no software or app that enables the doc camera to talk to the xbox. This could perhaps happen one day however.
For now I would have the document camera set up on a table in front of the xbox and Kinect with the testing area. Ideally it would be great to have the camera set up on the back of an office chair looking down on the participant over the shoulder. This would give the participant the freedom to move and get comfortable within the chair. A testing area on the table is a quick solution but very limited if the participant moves around or out of view of the doc camera.
Once the testing is over it would be great to say "Xbox, Stop recording" and the video would automatically be uploaded to the studio which then could easily be shared with stakeholders and anyone who wishes to view the testing video.
So that's it, my first blog posting. If you read this I hope you enjoyed the idea. It's amazing the technology we are exposed to today and how affordable something like this could be. I'd love to see something like this be put into practice but i think we are way off in terms of implementation. Who knows. Maybe I'm a little late to the game and this thing is going on but as it stands I'm unaware of this type of testing.