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Has anybody had experience testing interactive touch-based displays for ux usability. Specifically, i'm looking at large-screen (i.e. wall-sized) touch screen software experiences that use advanced gestures such as pinch-and-zoom or swipe. Would you test this the same way you would any website, or are there tailored usability testing methodologies for this?

Here's an example:

  • Welcome to UX.stackexchange. I am not certain what you're referring to. Could you elaborate a little. – Mayo Apr 30 '15 at 21:36
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    The basic testing method would be the same except with physical peramiters thrown in: ie how high up the wall should the thing be mounted so that its at the optimum height for your desired users ( ie do you want it thumped by small kids ?) – PhillipW May 1 '15 at 9:47
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Seems like the main difference/difficulty is the extra steps required to see how people interact with it in context up on the wall. Hope you have a budget to design and print giant prototypes! :) I don't think "best practices" change as much as internal workflow. You still need to observe users in context & note what works vs what doesn't, but if the product is big then work BIG.

Some practical considerations:

  • It takes more time, computing power, and budget to work at wall-sized 4K than it does to design a website UI for laptop use. This = slower iterations, greater expense, and potentially greater impact on testing from hardware glitches.

  • People aren't as familiar with interaction patterns at that scale so they might not even have expectations yet, whereas they generally have an idea how a website or mobile app should work.

    • For example, does "pinch to zoom" with thumb & finger still work, or do they need to scale up their gestures accordingly? Do they even consider gestures an option? This is still the same process of observation & discovery as you might normally test - just perhaps w/different assumptions.
  • How much latency is acceptable to people at that size vs. on a mobile phone? Does that scale too?

  • Are environmental factors more distracting at that size (lighting, glare, noise, having an audience, etc)? Does a low-fi mockup look even worse & therefore more distracting, meaning you need high-res mockups earlier in the process?

The Samsung "Centerstage" interactive kiosk is a great example, and this piece from Motionographer describes the design company's thought process and some considerations for design and user/audience interaction.

For example, novice users get up close & just tap, whereas store employees trained on its use have fun impressing people w/big sweeping gestures.

There's also the consideration of audiences. You have the primary "user" actually interacting, but it's also a huge showpiece that can attract a passive audience of onlookers. Those passive onlookers may learn by watching and change how they'd interact, so they're no longer "virgin" users.

One other thing I noticed from the "Behind the Scenes" video is that even in their internal meetings the team is often shown working at scale. They might do initial designs on a desktop monitor, but it seems that as much as possible they're looking at code up on a giant wall alongside the giant motion graphics & images.

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