Friday, May 13, 2011

Week, Mark VI

The sixth week has been strange. And busy. Strangely busy, even.

Early in the week, our NFA project saw a redirection, of a sort. Without going into detail, some of the players in charge changed, and the focus of the project is slightly different. What this meant for us is that much of our past work is either reduced in importance or simply unusable. This is okay by me, I think. It's a hassle, of course, but I can move on and adapt - as long as there is a direction, I don't mind being told that it's changing, as long as the resources are in place to move there. At this juncture, it looks like those resources will be in place, so I'm content enough.

This week has been primarily composed, hour-wise, of creating a usability test for the communication paradigm that is at the core of the experience, no matter what its direction is. That core is comprised of the relationship between the command and control personnel (the JOC) and the pilots. To test this, one of the other interns and I drew up a test plan to allow a pilot to fly through a short mission while following directions from and communicating with a radio control officer. We then organized the actual test using students from one of the earlier Masters' classes. I think we had a relatively successful and valuable first test; we gathered some helpful data that will benefit both the mission and education plan designers and our future iterations of the usability test. As we move into the next week, we're going to try and "shiny" up the test a little so that when some of the higher-ups from the project are in, they can see something really interesting - they'll be around for our next version of the usability test.

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