I conducted a pseudo-study the other day to see how my idea for a research study would work out.  I need to show how people would describe a map to another person, as this is not something we usually need to do. Using 4 volunteers I had them work in pairs, where one person describes the map to the other.  I am bundling this as a game, as I would like to create an extensive knowledge base, and hopefully a game would encourage this more so than a questionnaire.  Basically, Player 1 gives hints while Player 2 guesses which map they are describing.  This game will be played online, but in the meantime I used a very low-level prototype (a booklet of photocopied maps)  in order to iron out kinks before I set forth developing the online game.

I used maps of all different extents and locations ranging from rural to urban.  Over each map I placed a thematic data layer, and also varied it’s distribution map to map (clustered, spread out etc.)  Player 1 had one map in front of them, while Player 2 had 3 maps to choose from, all with the same base layer, but with the thematic layer varied.  Each set of partners went through the 8 maps, and then switched roles and repeated the game again.

Here is a list of things I will change/add and then perform the test again:

  • I included the same title on each map that was tested.  It was a very general title, and while the volunteers said it provided them with some context, it was very limited.  Next time I will vary the titles and try to make them more detailed.
  • The game was too easy, although I could tell the players enjoyed it and wanted to win so I need to institute some features that will make it more challenging
  • Enforce a time limit for giving hints and guessing
  • Give players a word limit for their hints
  • Include maps at different zoom levels so that people are less dependent on labels – less labels would make it harder to provide hints
  • Switch maps totally after each round, as during this test I only changed their order but were still made up of the same maps
  • Switch up partners after each round, the volunteers got to one another from the way they gave hints in the round before.
  • Have levels that would increase in difficulty as the game progresses

I will add to my test study and grab a few coworkers when I get back into town to test it out.  Hopefully it will be a bit harder, and then I can compare the quality of descriptions that were given here.  Stay tuned.


What I imagine the interface for Player 1 would look like.

What I imagine the interface would look like for Player 2

What I imagine the interface would look like for Player 2