In the past two weeks our little user-testing team (Indre, Derec, and me) had great fun traveling all over the Netherlands to meet our target users. We tested our Vibe-ing prototype with 9 women in total (more about this in the next post). A complete testing session took about 50 minutes and was conducted in Dutch (see also the picture for the standard set-up). In the following paragraphs you will find the protocol we used to collect the data.


User testing

User test setting

The participant was greeted by the researcher(s) and offered a drink. To make the participant feel at ease, we talked a bit about things that come to mind at that moment, before actually starting the interview. We introduced ourselves and the USI program, and explained the Vibe-ing project (but not into too much detail).

Consent form and demographics

The participant was explained why the cameras are there (i.e. for transcription purposes and to record the bodily movements while wearing the Vibe-ing cardigan). When there were no further questions she was asked to read and sign the consent form, which allows us to record the session. Next, 3 background questions were asked on age, occupation, and menopause phase.

First vibration pattern

Free exploration

The participant was asked to put on the cardigan, to close it with the zipper, and to freely explore how it feels. If the participant did not notice the touch sensors (and thus did not feel the vibrations) she was prompted to touch them. The participant was observed while doing this and no questions were asked at this stage to not disturb the free exploration of the cardigan. The participant was encouraged to try out the interactions and really experience the vibrations.

Expectations, associations

When the participant seemed to be finished exploring, she was asked what her expectations were when she first saw and put on the cardigan. She is also asked if she has any particular associations with the cardigan in general and with the vibrations, that come to mind.

Explanation of the goal

The participant was then explained what the aim of Vibe-ing is: to explore the possibilities of the Vibe-ing cardigan to improve posture correction and to examine different vibration patterns meant to stimulate posture correction. To get the participants first impression on VIbe-ing’s posture correction functionality, the participant was then asked for her opinion on this.

Table of characteristics

To give the interview a bit more structure and to facilitate data handling afterwards, we ask the participant to mention characteristics of the cardigan. The participant was prompted into doing this by explaining her that these characteristics can include anything as long as it’s related to the cardigan (e.g., to the appearance, the functionality, the experience, the vibrations, etc.). When a characteristics (for example ‘pleasant’) was mentioned and explained by the participant, she was also asked to rate this characteristic on a scale from 1 to 10, and to explain why she give this rating.


When it hadn’t come up yet during the previous part, the participant was asked specifically about the vibration pattern; while still wearing the cardigan, could she feel the actual vibration pattern? How does it feel? And how does she experience it? Also the interactions with the cardigan by means of the touch sensors on the belly was questioned in detail.

Second vibration pattern

After the participant had taken off the Vibe-ing prototype, the second vibration pattern was uploaded to the cardigan (the order of the 1st and 2nd vibration patterns were randomized to preclude order effects).

Free exploration and differences with 1st vibration pattern

Again we started with a couple of minutes of free exploration. The participant was requested to mention differences with the previous vibration pattern and to further elucidate her experiences with the second pattern. Also, it was questioned whether the participant changed her posture due to the vibrations, or whether she moved in an another way.

Table of characteristics

The table of characteristics was then expanded, first with new characteristics that related to the second vibration pattern. Second, the participant was asked to rate the second vibration pattern on the characteristics that she mentioned previously (regarding the first pattern). Third, when ratings were low, it was asked how this characteristic could be improved. What needed to be done to reach a 10 for this particular characteristic? Lastly, the participant was asked if she had any associations with this particular characteristic.

Love and Break-up letters

The last assignment we gave to our participants consisted of writing a love and a break-up letter (see also Martin & Hanington, 2012). First, the participant was asked to imagine that the cardigan is a person who she is in love with. She has to write him a love letter in which she elucidates why she loves him so much, what she likes about him, why he is attractive, and why she would like to meet him again soon. The next task was to write a break-up letter, in which she explains why she is breaking up with Vibe-ing, what she doesn’t like about him and what should be changed for their relationship to work.