UX Participant Research

Project Tempos "Learn to Program Custom LED Lights"

Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this test is to see how well a beginner, with no or limited relevant background, or at least no experience completing this specific task, can accomplish the task of setting up custom LED lights using an Arduino Uno microcontroller and Arduino IDE (basic C++, C code that is mostly provided) using the specified instructions. This experiment is meant to identify specific changes required to improve user performance and experience along with specific aspects of the documentation that are the most frustrating and difficult to understand.

  • Pick at least 2 participants, who meet the research guidelines, to follow instructions

  • Receive oral consent from participant following the Cornell University IRE oral consent guidelines

  • Set up Arduino IDE environment on laptop

  • Video tape participants performing tasks for later analysis

  • Ask pre and post experiment questions, both written and verbal, to identify parts of the instructions that can be improved upon

  • Write up results and provide suggestions for document improvement based on analysis

  • Maintain participant privacy by redacting names, not sharing video (only analysis of video) and not keeping personal information

Participant Profiles
The assumption was that these instructions were designed for beginners (although the audience was not announced on the documentation page). Given this assumption, the main criteria for participants was that they had not completed this task before and did not have any extensive programing, or Arduino board experience.

Given the nature of this UX Research project, participants were recruited from my immediate social circle. An attempt was made to get a diverse group of participants, but one participant was not able to join the experiment at the last minute, so the diversity mark was not met.


Participant 1 – male (he/him pronouns), no programming or electrical experience, not college educated, limited experience with technology other than using his cell phone regular

Participant 2 – male, (he/him pronouns), no programming experience, beginner circuitry experience, college educated, uses a computer daily for work, took 1 programming course 10 years ago (in college), limited technical experience otherwise.

Participant Tasks
  • Read through instructions linked above

  • Give oral consent after being informed what the experiment entails, before experiment begins

  • Inform participants of low, but possible, risk of electric shock when working with any electric devices and live wires

  • Set up Arduino IDE environment on laptop

  • Listen to oral explanation of how what the Arduino board is and how it works

  • Answer pre-experiment questionnaire

  • Follow instructions to complete the task of setting up an Arduino microcontroller

    • Setting up hardware including wiring Arduino board and LED lights to external power supply and to each other

    • Create the program that will run the software to control LED lights

  • Complete post-experiment questionnaire

    • Written

  • Complete post-experiment discussion

    • Oral

Data Collection and Analysis
Data will be collected by recording the sessions, keeping track of questions that come up during the task, asking questions before and after the task has been completed, recording the amount of time it takes each person to complete the task (if it is completed) and recording frustration and satisfaction levels with the task.

  • See pre and post experiment questionnaire at the bottom of this page

  • Experiment Setup
    • A brief explanation of what an Arduino microprocessor is and how the LED lights work with the Arduino via the provided software will be given to each participant before the task begins

    • Participants will read through the instructions and give their understanding of what they’ll be doing.

    • Participants will use the same laptop with the Arduino IDE already set up

    • Participants will be using the same Arduino board, LED light strip and power supply provided by the experimenter

    • Participants will be allowed to ask questions if they cannot figure it out with the instructions

      • These questions will be documented

      • Participants will be asked to figure it out first, but if they can’t then their questions will be answered

    • Participants will be given pre and post task questionnaire

      • Questionnaires are at the bottom of this page



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