STAMPIES - MATERIAL SIGNIFICANCE RESEARCH STUDY
Talk presented at the International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction in Stanford, January 2015.
A research study investigating how young children associate materiality of physical objects used with tablets.
My contributions involved conducting research, recruitment, user studies, object development, and usability testing.
TEI 2015, Stanford, CA
Summer 2014 - Fall 2014
BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH QUESTION
Digital devices are now being used simultaneously with tangible objects such as stylus pens, Wii Remotes, and various tangible toys. These tangible objects are bringing the physical world into the digital world and offering an affordance of physicality. Along with its physicality, tangible objects also bring a range of material properties such as shape, weight, texture, and temperature. Therefore this study serves to explore the materiality of an object and its association to digital properties for young children. We are studying how young children associate materiality and meanings and how it can benefit tangible interaction design.
STAMPIES OBJECT DEVELOPMENT
Stampies were handmade out of various materials.
In order for the Stampies object to work with the Stampies iPad app, conductive attachments made with conductive fabric/thread, copper tape, cardboard, and felt were further added to the objects.
The base end of the Stampie contains three point conductive patterns to distinguish the objects from one another when used with the Stampies iPad app.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND STAMPIES APP
For the study we had two sets of Stampies created from different types of materials: wood, felt, plastic, and silicone. One set was a neutral color; the other set was a natural color.
The neutral set was colored a neutral white to avoid biases and used with the Color level.
After assigning a Stampie to a color, the program acknowledges the action by showing an image of the Stampie (and its material) on top of its assigned color.
After assigning all four neutral Stampies to a color, a blank screen opens up, allowing the user to draw freely with the Stampies. If the wood Stampie was assigned to blue, then it would only be able to draw blue in the app.
COLOR IMAGES AND LINE IMAGES LEVEL:
For the ‘Color Images' and 'Line Images’ level, the child participant was asked to assign four natural Stampies to one image from each category.
The four categories (animals, fruits, instruments, clothing) contained four digital representations of its category. For example, the animals category contained an image of a dog, cat, bunny, and pig. In the animals category, the child participant could only select one Stampie with one of the digital animal images.
For the 'Line Images' level, the images were an outlined black and functioned the same way as in the 'Color Images' level.
After assigning all four natural Stampies to an image from each catergory, a blank screen opens up, allowing the user to draw freely with the Stampies. If the wood Stampie was assigned to a dog, then it would only be able to draw the dog in the app.
Rather than stamping the images, some kids liked to make a continuous drawing with the images.
Target goal: 10 participants
Target age: 4-6 years old
Target gender: Male and female
User studies conducted: 19
Girl users: 9
Boy users: 10
Ages: 4 to 7
Average age: 5.2
The place of user study was made as kid friendly as possibly by adding toys in the background and using child sized tables and chairs. The parent waited in a room next door with another researcher while the participant and I did the user studies in the following room.
The participant sat on the blue chair while I sat on the pink chair. Due to the three camera’s positioning, the blue chair was positioned at the optimal location to capture the participants actions. All three cameras were there to record the sessions for later quantitative and qualitative analysis. The camera on the left displayed the output to a monitor in the room next door for the parent to see how his/her child was doing.
The results from this study was presented as a talk (Material Significance of Tangibles for Young Children) at the 2015 Tangible, Embodied and Embedded Interaction conference.