Getting fit with MSBand and an alien wins Sheridan College students first place for User Experience!
A team of students from Sheridan college took first place in the world wide innovation User Experience category of Imagine Cup with Qfit Quest for Fitness, a fitness application for MS Band. In this post they share some insights into how they approached the user experience to earn their first place $3000 USD prize!
What is QFit?
The goal of QFIT is to gamify the fitness experience – adding the fun, rewarding parts of gaming to a real life experience. QFIT makes real life fitness a game experience from the ground up, rather than using it as a component to interact with an existing game. Discover fitness activities through quests where you win by running, sleeping, getting sunlight, playing sports, and having fun.
QFIT uses the tracking capabilities of Microsoft Band to measure step count, heart rate, UV, and sleep quality – and uses them as goals for completing quests. Quests are at the core of many videogames, giving players small groups of tasks to complete for rewards. A user might, for example, be given a quest to run 1000 steps in 10 minutes. Finding and choosing quests, as well as checking history and connecting socially, will take place on a smart phone – but once a quest is chosen, the action moves to the Band where the user can keep of track of what they’ve done and what they need to do
How does it work?
QFIT places step-count, heart rate, and good sleep cycles in the background as the engine for an engaging, interactive, positive experience. Track your progress in experience and levels, getting points for every one of your fitness activities– it’s an engaging way of looking at how much you’re doing. Levels in specific sections (endurance for daily activity like walking, strength for heavy cardiovascular workouts, and focus for meditation and sound sleep) offer a variety of real-life activities to apply to quests – which means enough opportunities and content to let users get lost in the game and get fit - maybe without even realizing it.
EXP and levels have another purpose, aside from motivation and rewards – bragging rights. Few things are better motivators than competition, which is why QFIT will allow users to connect with friends. Leaderboards specific to your social circle and worldwide add extra recognition, and the potential for infinite play. The great thing about the internet is that there’s always someone else to play with. There will always be someone higher up the ladder to beat, and if there isn’t, you better defend your title! Social connections could also allow users to perform quests with friends, locally or over a distance. A tough quest like making 200 push-ups will be easier alongside a supportive friend, and a more important challenge if the loser is paying for dinner.
Where did you get the idea for your project?
We are very interested in gamification, we wanted to make something that is boring more fun!
Why did you select the MS Band for your project?
It’s very different, for the most part it’s very intuitive to use. It does have very small screen space so it took a while to get used to the typing, but it makes a great intermediary to your phone.
You won the User Experience category, what exactly is User Experience?
User interface is the wireframe and visual targets. User experience is about the use cases. How do you interact with the user? Q is an alien who talks to the user, it’s not just a message that pops up on the band, you have a character talking to you.
What are some of the most important considerations in designing a good User Experience?
Is it boring? We wanted to make using the app an experience instead of a chore. we also wanted to keep it simple in terms of direct interaction, so we tried to keep each interaction to the smallest number of steps possible.
What are you most proud of in this project?
Q ! You see him on the main screen of the QFIT app for Microsoft Phone. The Face present is called Q and changes appearance based on mood – displaying different “facial expressions” and color schemes to express the current state of your digital alien companion. Q’s mood changes when he wants different things (leads to different quests for the user). The type of quests the user completes will affect Q’s mood. Q has attitude
Are you going to continue with this project?
We are bringing Q to life! We have the bands and we are building it. We are working on a prototype now!
There are lots of gamified fitness experiences out there, what differentiates yours from others?
We went for actual gamification of fitness rather than tacking fitness onto a game.
We looked up a lot of existing apps, some of them give you a score based on how far you run, or zombies running whether you are running or not. So it really is a game added to your fitness. The game aspect is parallel to the activitiy instead of being the activity. Our app is all about the fitness, it is a game that requires you to participate as a normal game would. When you use QFit, you are in the game world yourself, not just looking at the game world on your phone
Who created QFit?
Qfit is the brain child of team If Quest. Team If Quest is made up of Samantha Akulick, Peter Morrison and Jaimin Patel . Samantha, Peter, and Jaimin are studying taking the Mobile Computing Degree at Sheridan college.