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The Spectrum Project Update 5: Validating Assumptions

Monday, February 10th, 2014 | Posted by Chelsea Hostetter

When we last left off, we had presented the first iteration of CoffeeRoulette—a service that helps forge friendships between two trans*friendly people over coffee and a game.

CoffeeRoulette’s best features include:

  • a curated community of trans*friendly folks, initially seeded by the alpha testers in the trans*community.
  • a no-hassle 45-minute timed meeting to meet with others (but not feel bad if your time runs out and you don’t want to meet them again)
  • a way of connecting others in a generally anonymous, one-on-one way to protect the privacy of individuals.

This past week, we’ve been testing these features and more by using scenario validation. Scenario validation is a process by which we create multiple scenarios in which a (fictional) user would be using our application, along with screenshots of the application as they are using it.

Then, we give the users a feedback sheet asking questions to rate different statements about the application from 1-5 (where 1 is that they strongly agree with the statement, and 5 is that they strongly disagree with the statements). Statements can range from, “I feel like I can trust the people I meet through this application” to “I would like to use this application more in the future.”

We tested with folks inside and outside the trans*community—we felt that testing outside the community was important to validate our assumptions should we choose to expand our curated community from solely the trans* community. The responses we received were interesting and helpful. They ranged from:

“I really like the one on one aspect of this…I go to Meetups and it’s just hard to connect with one individual person.”

to

“Why isn’t this a dating app?”

It’s helpful to hear a validation of our design idea, and that, for the most part, we’ve been met with optimism and kindness. We also know how helpful it is to receive critical feedback on our idea to kickstart our thinking. We were provided that this Saturday when Alex presented our idea to a critical audience instead of a friendly one.

Some of the questions that were asked of us were, “How do we know that the games are in the coffee shop?” “What’s your business plan? How will you make money?” and “What if people steal the games?”

We had answers to some, and on others we had none. We knew our idea worked and people were interested in it, and it felt more “real” to us than ever before, but there are still more hurdles for us to jump before it becomes an actuality.

 This week, we’re working on incorporating the feedback, doing our last round of user testing, and finalizing our prototype in code. We’ll be taking in all of your feedback and making the idea more solid and more real.

Look forward to the next update, where we will have a more solid version of CoffeeRoulette to show you.

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