Tabletop touch game

Photo Credit: Flavio Serafini

Tabletop touch game

To conclude my bachelor studies in Product Management, I was investigating the usability questions of gestural interfaces (more specifically touch-based interactions). For this project, I looked into DIY, custom-built multitouch interfaces (based on infrared lighting and “cheap” computer vision solutions), and developed my own application for empirical studies.

The application I developed was based on an old, traditional tabletop game: “button football” (mainly known in Hungarian and Portuguese-speaking countries). Button football is a physical game where finger dexterity is essential for playing, therefore I found it a very interesting problem to investigate the feasibility to implement this game, and analyse the usability of the needed touch-based gestures.

I created a high-fidelity prototype in Processing, which was using generic TUIO controls, enabling to run on any custom-built multitouch surface (including iPad or Android tablets or Microsoft Pixelsense via TUIO servers).

The game prototype and the conceptual model of the interface layers.

Empirical user research

In three different iterations, I conducted a mainly informal user testing; as the prototype was based on a game, it was more natural to test it in a gaming environment rather than a formal approach.

During the testing rounds I observed how the participants were playing the game, with a focus of gestural actions. Afterwards, I conducted interviews to ask for their opinion how do they find the control of the game, the gameplay, the hardware and asked for improvement points for the next iterations.