ICM Final Week 12: In-Class Play Test


For the play test today (11/27/18), I showed users my cardboard prototype (version 2 with the circular set up with the sun dial light). I had a slider version working for the photons, so that when users shined more light on the solar panels I would manually move the slider to create more photons. I am still trying to figure out how to generate more electron-hole pairs after the photons hit the solar cell. Next will be to have the solar panel sensor reading tie in with the sketch (in replacement of the slider).

Below are the 3 parts of what I presented today – a.) the build, b.) the p5js animation with the slider, c.) the illustrator file with the text overlay.

a.) the build

prototype after play test

b.) the p5js animation


c.) the illustrator file with the text overlay that correlates with the buttons on the display and the the # on the screen.


Reflections after play test:

Today’s play test was incredibly helpful. Everybody provided great feedback about the parts that were confusing and could be improved upon. The biggest takeaways were:

1.) Many people were confused about what the screen was showing. Right now, it is just showing a schematic of a blown up cross section of a solar cell. However, many people thought that only the top blue layer was the solar panel (which makes complete sense!).  I need to somehow indicate that this is a cross section of the solar cell, not the solar panel on a house. Suggestions included: adding a house in the background to show that this solar cell was taken from the house, making the solar cell look more like a solar panel, text that clearly tells people this is a solar cell schematic.

2.) The battery storage needs to be more clear what will happen. The issue of what happens when people press the battery button when the light is on needs to be worked out. There are 2 options that this could go in: 1.) there could be a separate graphic that shows up that says what actually happens when the battery is being used when there is light on, 2.) get rid of the analog battery option and only allow people to select the battery option through the screen.

3.) Will it be clear enough to just have lights that dim and get brighter based on the light source? Is it worth putting a numerical value or bar graph that very very clearly shows that the light shining on the panel directly impacts the sketch? I will definitely still have the solar cell schematic because that is the main education takeaway. Should I add a new web page that shows the number or a graph?

4.) Dana mentioned a great point about having an opener graphic/ page that helps people know what this is interactive is about and how to play with it. It would be weird for people to just be introduced with this schematic, so perhaps adding an introduction of some sort. “Think of it like a book” were her exact words, which really helps me think about the curating the narrative that people should experience.

5.) People didn’t immediately realize that you could rotate the turn table, so maybe including arrows on the turn table that indicate you can move it.