One reason that its exciting to be finally out with MindCanvas is because of the feedback you receive. For a while now, MindCanvas was something we talked about with friends, but not a public forum (I think that its good to release early, but not so early that your design vision is not communicated yet).
One of the first few feedback /queries we have received is about MindCanvas as a never-ending game linked to from someone’s website or software. This is a model we have talked about on and off (and it’s interesting to see it come up so early in discussions).
So, how would a never-ending design game work? Presumably, instead of boring feedback forms, we would have participatory feedback games. People could spend a minute or two of their time playing a game designed to gather design data. I think the game-like aspects of MindCanvas would have to be made even more compelling (currently we have designed for a slightly longer -10-30 minute – experience). Also, we would probably have to introduce different levels of challenge.
Design data – small bits at a time: What would it be like for the designer/researcher? They would get a relatively continuous (maybe monthly or quarterly stream of feedback). And like with server logs, they would be able to ask specific questions of the data. Rather than always looking for the grand overview, it would be the right answer at the right time. Imagine getting data from a continuous card-sorting exercise.
The most challenging bit would be the data analysis: Currently, our visual analysis engine is designed to handle one-time, large datasets. We would have to build significant infrastructure to be able to handle a constant stream of data, in much smaller chunks. But it can be done. And my mind is already abuzz with ideas about how the analysis would work.
What do you think? Can you imagine a game-like elicitation method (GEM) that lets your users give small bits of design feedback, one small chunk at a time? Where can you imagine going with this? How would you use something like this?
(Yes, I am aware of the Flickr reference with game neverending!)
(I am currently co-posting this to the MindCanvas blog while I figure out to divide my blogging. Will probably end up shifting blogging about research methods there.)