Demon Castle Tutorials - Usability Test [Was: Re: [Etoys] Demon Castle Tutorials for eToys]

Alan Kay alan.kay at
Mon Oct 23 08:32:45 EDT 2006

Thanks very much for this feedback!

Yes, these are definitely things that happen, and it is difficult to 
anticipate them, so this detailed description really helps!




At 11:42 PM 10/22/2006, Milan Zimmermann wrote:
>Hi Takashi,
>This weekend, we ran a usability test on your tutorial. The way I setup the
>environment is I asked 3 girls (2 of my daughters, both age 15, and their
>friend, same age) to do, separately:
>         - Start each of the 3 projects of the tutorial (I did the start/stop)
>         - Be in a room with a computer by herself, with no help
>         - Call me in if she gets stuck, BUT only after 2-3 minutes 
> of trying. I
>helped only the minimum necessary in such case.
>All was repeated with each. All 3 finished all 3 tutorials, some help was
>needed, Jacqueline only needed help once, to "repair the script".
>I realize the ages are probably older then the target age. Also my girls did
>use eToys quite a bit before (up to about 2 years ago, when they used it
>last .. I noticed they did a _very_ good job forgetting it :) ). Their friend
>never used eToys; but all used computers to a fairly large degree.
>I basically decided to note (and report here) things on which they get stuck
>too long or surprised by. The report below is sort of a summary of the 3 of
>them. First, let me say that you would be happy to see (and hear) their
>         - Wow, this is pretty cool
>         - Ah, I can use it
>         - What i cute demon  :)
>         - etc
>Please do not take the length of this "report" as a negative sign - the girls
>did love the tutorial, and all got to the end with some help, Jacqueline
>almost did it all by herself!
>So the report:
>A. Generic Findings:
>         - Kids are impatient :) they cannot wait 2 minutes without 
> asking for help,
>but get better over time.
>         - When they get lost, they make things worse by just 
> clicking around, often
>trying things they learned in previous lessons.
>         - The "Try Again" button was valuable, but it would be nice 
> to add a note
>(bold) "You can always click on the "Try Again" button". Also is it possible
>for the "Try Again" to completely restore the state, including deleting
>copies, restoring destroyed scripts etc? For example, sometimes they ended up
>with many copies of the key (as they decided to try the "duplicate"), and
>things became confusing. Also, Joelle deleted the scriptor, and that was the
>end of her lesson until I restarted it. So restoring the page state
>completely on "Try Again" would be great.
>         - We had a few MNU, but they did figure to just click the 
> "x" on the left,
>and kept playing. This is funny, for a developer it is a mojor event. For a
>child, as long as they know what to do, just get rid of it and keep going...
>         - Not sure how hard this is - is it possible to "lock up" 
> the instructions,
>in the sense kids cannot write to it, a few times they got confused and
>started dragging out images from the instructions
>B1. Handles/Hallo Tutorial:
>         - Clicking on the black parts of the "key morph" does not 
> act on in. I
>realize this is etoys behaviour, but it confused one of them, brought
>confusion about how the halo is brought up, and I had to explain. I think for
>the initial tutorial, the key morph should have a black background, so it is
>sensitive to click anywhere on it or close to it.
>         - Apart from that, pretty smooth sailing!
>B2. Paint Tool Tutorial:
>         - I think the "auto-painter" confused more then helped, 
> overall. I would
>probably remove it, caused much confusion for everyone. (Also, once painted,
>the painted morph stays around on all following pages it seems?).
>         - On the following few "Paint my face" instruction pages: In the
>instructions, perhaps instead of pasting the icons, better would be to start
>with hallo up, and put the "Paint Box" close, or inside, of the
>instructions?. The girls thought that they should click on the icons inside
>the instructions, instead on the PaintBox all the way right. Eventually they
>ploughed through it though :)
>B3. Scripting Tutorial (hardest, understandably, but excellent):
>         - a movie would be ideal (Broken scriptor: hardest to get right)
>         - The "Try Again" comment from A. Generic Findings: applies.
>         - The girl who did not use eToys, was confused and kept 
> asking "what is
>scriptor"?, "what is a tile"? - We should define and
>describe "scriptor", "tile", "exclamation", and "clock", in more detail,
>perhaps a more text and arrows would help. It is hard to describe though...
>         - The arrow "Try the  exclamation button" should point to 
> "!" (points to
>         - Page "Is the scriptor broken" page: Perhaps could add 
> more description
>like: "Once the scriptor is repaired, click the clock as in the previous
>page". This is where the girl who did not use eToys started to get stuck.
>         - Page "Let me explain a bit about a scriptor here.": - 
> What do you think
>about moving this page  up front, maybe simplifying it (as noted 3 items
>5. At the end:
>This was funny, where the demon says "I am sorry I captured you. But I just
>want a human friend. I am a lonely demon.", the girls all noted "why does he
>ask about a human friend, it should be a cat friend?" I never noticed it at
>Beautiful stuff - please let me know if we can help. We noticed a few typos
>and formulation potential changes - if you'd like, we can summarize them.
>Thanks Milan, Jacqueline, Joelle and Najiba
>On 2006 October 20 11:08, Takashi Yamamiya wrote:
> > Hi Andreas, Milan,
> >
> > I have updated handles tutorial.
> >
> >
> > Milan Zimmermann wrote:
> > > Takashi,
> > >
> > > I remember one thing I got stuck on (almost) completely, was when I
> > > started resizing the "BIG KEY". When you try to make it big and small
> > > again in a few directions without letting go (and it goes
> > > LARGE/Small/OK"), it becomes almost impossible to hit the OK size. Maybe
> > > it should be more generous with the range of OK (it seems to use a
> > > relative measure perhaps). I will have more notes over the weekend,
> >
> > Aha! everybody who tried it complained this issue, but I just forgot...
> > I made it easier, thank you!
> >
> > > On 2006 October 19 23:58, Andreas Raab wrote:
> > >>> (handles)
> > >>
> > >> * On the first page where it says "Click THIS arrow" I'd move the text
> > >> closer to the arrow. I was kinda looking for "another" arrow because the
> > >> one you mean is quite far away from the text.
> >
> > Oops, you are right. That was bad.
> >
> > >> * On the third page (with the first key) I would change the text from
> > >> "Go ahead you can move the key" to something like "Go ahead, drag the
> > >> key on the keyhole" (to emphasize that you mean click and drag)
> >
> > Make sense,
> >
> > >> * On the "resize handle" page it was very hard to find quite the right
> > >> size for the key. It seems as if there is only a small range in which it
> > >> will fit and it was quite tricky to get that "just right". I wonder if
> > >> there is an easy way to increase that range?
> >
> > I am going to fix other two projects later.
> > Thank you so much!
> >
> > Takashi
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