Here goes our video link…

Hi,  thanking for reading our blog, here comes our video that showing how our design, enjoy:


400 words – Puzzlehunt, revitalize the winter pool into a social practice between international students and local community

When we were given the topic of the 2010 OZCHI Student Design Challenge, we brainstormed a lot of possible paths that we could explore, such as abandoned buildings, network space, memory, etc.

We listed all the options we had and decided to define a problem we want to tackle. Then we decided to focus on the city where we lived, Bloomington, Indiana. Bloomington has a huge diversity of students’ demographic. We have more than 4600 international students. Helping them to live a more colorful life in here is a meaningful thing to do.

In our user research, we interviewed some international students of IUB. We get insight that they would like to socialize with people but location and transportation could be holding them back.

We then narrowed down our design to an unused physical space – swimming pool in the wintertime, so as to help them get connected to local communities. One reason is that normally every community has a pool and it is near where the international students live. Holding events there might attract more international students because of ease of access.

Our core of the design is to revitalize the winter pool into a social practice between international students and local community through Puzzle Hunt. Puzzle Hunt is a game that combines with puzzle solving and treasure hunting, which informs a better social interaction among people of the neighborhood. Those people can be international students and local residents.

They could activate this game through a smart phone application. When walking around in the pool to search for puzzles pieces, they can use the application to grab to puzzles displayed in the digital mat around the pool, and put that piece into the right section of the puzzle image by sending the puzzle image through the phone. By offering this interesting social game in winter, we hope that international students could have a “warmer time” in the cold winter.

We built our prototype by using mega puzzles, printing pictures and cardboards. We simulated the experience of playing Puzzle Hunt and invited 3 participants to our usability test. Drawing from the usability feedback, we re-designed a multi-dimensional feedback and a picture progress hint that will help the player enjoy the game more.

In the future, we will look into the space of how to storage the game for individual but remain collaborative.


We will look into the space of how to storage the game for individual but remain collaborative. We are also looking forward to seeing this game become true!


Driving by the insights from the usability test, we learn that people like feedback when playing games. Thus, we redesign two new features of our concept – picture progress, multi-dimensional feedback.

Picture progress (photo taken by Xiying Wang)

Picture progress: besides the whole puzzle images on the wall of the pool, there will be another picture showing the progress. Users can know their progress when playing the puzzlehunt game. To know the progress is important for game player, because they need to know how close they are to the final goal. Also, a progress serves as a motivation for people to continue the game.

Multi-dimensional feedback: we redesign our vibration alert (which will be appear when people put the wrong piece of puzzle) to multi-dimensional feedback – vibration alert, text alert and audio alert. The rationale behind this new feature is that people sometimes need more than one feedback, and a multi-dimensional feedback makes sure that people are aware of their mistakes. This feature is drawn from our usability test.

Prototyping more!

We are definitely having fun with our prototypes!

Prototype 01

Prototype 02

Prototype 03

Prototype 04

Prototype 05

Usability Test Results

We conducted two usability test with three participants. The three participants are international students from Indiana University Bloomington. The first test was done with two participants collaborating and the second test was performed by a single individual. We explained the concept of what was happening and recorded the interaction of the participants with the prototype. The major insights from the testing are:

– Having larger pieces displayed on the floor may make it difficult to visualize with the small piece on the phone.

– Participants wanted feedback in the different forms of visual, audio and vibration.

– Have more than just puzzles or more complicated puzzles would keep them interested.

Oops…forget to show your our prototypes

Prototype 01

The puzzle on the wall!

Prototype 02

A piece of the puzzle.

Prototype 03

Puzzle pieces! They are huge.