Posts filed under ‘Android Screen Capture TMobile MyTouch 4g’

Communicating User Experience

For a project in a User-centered Design class, I did some research on existing mobile apps for  trip planning on a public transportation system. After gathering the data, I wondered how to best communicate the user experience. This is a challenge for communicating between Interaction designers, within a multi-disciplinary team, and most importantly to a client.

My main research platform is Android-based mobile phone, which was a challenge because current versions do not support screen capture out of the box. I explored a couple tools intended for developer audiences (DDMS and Mighty Pocket’s Android Screen Capture – AShot) and chose not to use any methods requiring rooting the phone. Note: Currently for Android I found tools for taking screen images but not for video recording screen actions.

Based on the tools available for communicating research results back to a group of Interaction designers, I decided to go through a flow of screenshots and text descriptions of how controls worked (or did not work according to expectations). In addition, I tried to record emotional responses to controls and app feedback. I captured screenshots and text descriptions of 2-3 user flows in 3 different trip planner apps (including websites for mobile browsers). In my first pass, I created a few separate documents with screens for each trip planner and the strength of this approach was that it provided contextual information about the progression to the goal within a flow. However, the downside of this information content was that it was difficult to compare the 3 experiences.

In my second pass, I created a table with 3 columns (one per trip planner app) and rows that evaluated each trip planner for strengths, weaknesses, user input, system cues/feedback, and screenshots for the main user input and the app’s trip results. This gave a more compact view and more quantitative information to quickly see the commonalities and differences among the apps, however the qualitative aspect of the original contextual experience was lost.

In an article by Rebekah Sedaka (http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/comics-not-just-for), she describes the successful use of comics and animation to communicate a design solution to a client. In her example, the user was a character in the comic and thought bubbles as well as facial expressions were used to communicate the psychological aspect of the user experience in the context of a wireframe flow.

Nuts and Bolts

For setting up use of DDMS and/or AShot, see installation instructions for Ashot. Note that all steps for DDMS setup are prerequisite to using AShot. In addition for the TMobile MyTouch 4g, you must set the phone to act as a tethering device on USB connection to your pc. You’ll also need to download and install the appropriate USB driver from the HTC support area.

Alternatively, this is a video tutorial for setup to use DDMS.

The advantage to using AShot over DDMS is the Screen Capture feature. After you click the Screen Capture button, each unique screen on your phone will be captured as a separate image and saved to a designated folder on your pc, until you click a Stop Capture button. In DDMS, you need to manually click a Refresh button after you have changed something on the app screen and also click a Save button to capture that image. If you’re trying to capture a user flow with more than a few screenshots, AShot is a better application and can also be used to convert mobile app screens to a larger monitor display or projection for demos (there is a few second delay on screen change and be prepared to troubleshoot during the setup process).

May 30, 2011 at 5:34 am Leave a comment


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