I tested an application called Med Quiz created by Malvin Hiew and Chris Retz, for practicing medical vocabulary. We had two focus groups with the Landmark students, each with three students. The first group worked with the original application, while the second group looked at both the original application and the paper mockups done by the first group.
Both groups were very interested and engaged in the process. The first group focused on testing the original prototype and brainstorming possible features that could be added. During this session, paper, sticky notes, and markers were used to create paper prototypes and develop ideas. The session ended with a paper prototype including the features the group considered most important to the redesign. The second session also looked at the original prototype, but focused on the paper prototype developed in the first session. The second group brainstormed ways to refine or expand the prototype, as well as considering how the user might move through the game.
Working with the students at Landmark was very rewarding. They were clearly interested in the idea of participatory design and were very comfortable expressing their ideas. While many of them did not have previous experience with this kind of focus group, the paper prototyping was easy to pick up and in my opinion a successful technique.