As part of the web documentary course in 2022, students at Volda University College have done formative evaluations where the point was to assess something under development.
15 students evaluated the app Hidden in spring 2022 and suggested changes to improve the appeal of it. The app itself has gone under changes since the evaluations were written.
Hidden is an app letting the user explore untold stories and historical and culturally significant places in Norway based on their location.
You can read about the evaluation of "Hidden Kultur" from 2021 here.
With Hidden Play users can create their own character, which can have different attributes, clothing etc. With that charac- ter, users can playfully dive into the world of Hidden.
The group of Jasmin Schol, Niclas Reichelt and Sönke Schaackand worked on Hidden play, a feature which could make the app more interactive by establishing characters users can play to dive into the world. Collecting points and items and thus unlocking functions like the AR integration could attract a broader target group and might make users return more often to the app.
Additionally, the user should get the chance to rate places of interest and leave comments to enhance the community feeling. With Hidden Walk users can chose to go on thematically prepared walks together with other users to explore sights with the community.
However, the group pinpoints that the AR needs to be more integrated into the app. At the time of the evaluation the user needed to use a second app to open AR featured and has to switch between the apps.
Mohit Pandey, Marek Hofman and Rakin found the content shown in the Hidden app informative, entertaining, and educative. They would like to see more customization options.
This group welcomes the use of more graphics and improvement of the map itself. As in other maps, it would be more attractive to integrate navigation options to avoid switching between different apps.
Furthermore, Mohit, Marek and Rakin suggest to implement text-to-voice to allow users to walk with the phone without looking on it. Parallel to this, a geo-location triggered activation of AR lifts the user experience.
The design of the category button on the map is misleading according to Jolana Švábová, Casper.B. Kanestrøm. Most users who have tried google maps will expect this same functionality, from the same icon, while it in hidden gives users access to the different categories of content.
In the category menu there is no close button on the ios device we used, and the process can only be done by sliding down, which the group experienced as confusing and not intuitive.
Another issue is the use of abbreviations, funnkart and numbers which are not relevant for the user.The group emphasizes the need of visualisation at point of interests.
In addtion, users need to have the chance to give feedback and report a bug. Therefore contact options or social media buttons are necessary.
At last, the group proposes to offer saving options to store favourite stories in a list for future use.
Needs to be more smooth
The group proposes a logo which shows the outline of a troll to emphasize the historical aspect and to hint towards the curiosity to discover hidden treasures.
The group of Friedericke Schwenck, Rosie Helena Kyle and Eirik Fausko, highlights the innovative way of telling a story in the app and writes:
"Its technology is interesting especially for media researchers and academics, as it challenges traditional linear and "static" storytelling."
On the other hand they suggest small changes in the design of the user interface, such as the risk of confusion of the category icon with the layers function of google maps. Similar to other groups, this group critcises the language offer and misses possible sharing features.
The app can be downloaded on Google play and apple store, but is hard to find there. The first thing most student groups are missing is the option to get more information about the use of the app that goes beyond the welcome page.
Another significant finding is that you get an acoustical signal and the extra information about the place when going checking in physically at a point of interest. Furthermore, it is positive that you do not need to create an account, log in and need to delete data at the end. Hidden has according to most groups huge participatory potential by letting users create content themselves. Especially appealing is the use of AR.
It is wished to filter the results by the category of information provided in the certain location the use is. At the point of the evaluation it was not clear whether one would expect a picture or AR at a point of interest.
Implementation of student evaluation
Some of the students suggestions were implemented in the latest version of Hidden. The CEO of Hidden, Øyvind Steensen, said that the students evaluation helped improving the user interface and user experience for editors, developers and end users alike.
"Most interesting for us was user data that reveals the extent when the software does not work as it should, as well as a variety of feedback from different student groups with partially different needs and thoughts."
They improved their tools and gained better insight into how current and future evaluations and student projects can be designed and organized even better. The designs for the software have been also affected by the students evaluation.
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