My user testing is condensed, as it involves several repetitive testing sessions with the same group of individuals. As posted earlier, I planned my first few user testing sessions to acclimate the child to my product, and allow them to get comfortable with the materials, form, placement around their wrist, etc.
The testing took place in the OT (occupational therapy) room, with two of the OT instructors. OT is where the children learn and work on fine motor skills, as well as management of their behaviours. I thought this would be the most comfortable place to first introduce the products. I brought in a few prototypes, the track sample, the initial rubber prototype, and the second dragon skin prototype. The prototypes were placed near the 'fidget box,' so that the kids could associate them with something they were already familiar with using. One of the teachers and I sat by the prototypes and called the children over individually to see what they thought of the prototypes and how they responded.
Much to my surprise, the children were very quick to get comfortable with the products! The first student I tested with was a 10-year old boy named Cameron. He first picked up the dragon skin, and began stretching it. I showed him how the nubs could be pulled on, and he loved pulling at them and stretching them. I then showed him the first rubber prototype, and he let me put it around his wrist. He told us that he liked the prototype around his wrist, but did not like that the material was not as stretchy. He then looked at the ball prototype, and rolled the ball through the track, said it was cool, and then started turning it to roll the ball around.
The next student was an 11-year old girl named Emma. She had relatively severe ADD, and an extremely short attention span. She picked up the dragon skin and immediately stretched it as far as it could go, then started squeezing it. She tossed it aside and then picked up the track and tried as hard as she could to pull the ball out of the track. She tossed it aside and let me put on the rubber bracelet, which she pulled for a few seconds. She then went through about 10 of the fidgets in the bin just as quickly and was done. Interestingly, she wore the rubber prototype while interacting with some of the fidgets in the bin.
Next was a 7-year old boy named Zach. He looked at the rubber prototype, and we showed him how to put it on. He loved that he could wear it on his wrist. He told us that he thought it would be great to keep it on while using it in class. He then looked at the dragon skin, and told us he liked that it was white. He stretched and pulled it, and then moved on to the track. He rolled the ball through the track, but did not try to pull it out.
Last was a 9-year old boy named Leo. He picked up the rubber prototype and put it around the back of his head. We showed him that it could go on his wrist, so he put it on and pulled at some of the nubs. He then started stretching and pulling at the dragon skin. We showed him the track, but he said he wasn't interested. When asked if he liked the prototypes better around his wrist or in his hands, he said he liked the ones that he could hold better.
The best part of the day came after Zach's testing, when another teacher came in to the room. She said she needed to see what we were doing, because Cameron had just come back to her class and told her all about the prototypes. She said he was drawing them on the board for her, and said, "It's so cool, you can wear it on your wrist, it's exactly what I need!"
This first testing session was extremely helpful. First off, I now know that these higher-functioning autistic students do not need much time getting acclimated to the product, they seem to dive right in. I also learned that 3 out of 4 really liked wearing the product on their wrist, while one preferred holding it in his hands.
I also learned that I need to revise my testing scenario - speaking with the teachers afterwards, it seemed like the best idea would be to leave a few prototypes with the teachers to be used in a classroom setting. They will be given out when the teacher feels it is necessary, and taken back after a timed period. This will be done until the novelty/newness of the product wears off (a few sessions). Then, we will have the students wear the product for extended periods of time (an hour to begin with), and show them that they can only be used when the timer is on.
I have been working on prototypes, and should have a few of the dragon skin pieces ready by the middle of next week to begin the in-class testing sessions.