HCDE 451 E7: Video Narrative

Lumosity video prototype

As part of a prototyping class at the University of Washington, we were tasked with creating a medium fidelity video prototype of a health and/or fitness app.

The Design

I chose Lumosity for my video prototype. Lumosity is a desktop and mobile app that aims to increase focus, attention space, mind flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving through fun brain games.

Lumosity logo.

I chose Lumosity because my roommates and I have been complaining lately that we can’t focus on zoom classes, aren’t as creative as we were before, and just have general brain fatigue. This seemed like a perfect scenario to communicate the value of Lumosity to improve our brain function. Thus, the scenario for my video prototype would be set in the pandemic (because it creates a relatable scene for most viewers) and would feature my roommates to highlight that improving brain health is fun, and isn’t just for older generations. Plus, they were the only people I had access to to film with.

My prototype goal was testing desirability. The video narrative would act similarly as a commercial, and I wanted to see if my audience got the concept of Lumosity and saw how it could benefit their brain.

The Prototype

Based on my scenario, I made a storyboard to help me define the scenes I would need to shoot.

Storyboard of video narrative. Sorry I can’t draw :(

The frames are described in detail below:

  1. Frame 1 (multiplied by each roommate) is setting the “before” picture of a tired brain. Each roommate is doing something different to show a lack of focus, lack of energy, or lack of stimulating activities.
  2. Frame 2 (multiplied by each roommate) depicts me handing them the solution (Lumosity). Words accompany this frame to help make the transition from the before to after picture.
  3. Frame 3 (multiplied by each roommate) shows each of us using Lumosity and playing a different game. I wanted to include this part so the viewers could see the app functionality for themselves. This frame explains the product better than frames 1 and 2.
  4. Frame 4 is the collaborative use scene. I wanted to show how Lumosity could bring people together as well.
  5. Frame 5 is the closing Lumosity screen with the logo. Having this at the end reminds viewers what the product is and cements the benefits they heard in relation to the product.

After determining the scenes I would need, I gathered all my roommates to shoot it. Disclaimer: We are all wearing the same shirts (courtesy of the 2020 fat bear competition in Katmai National Park) of fat bear champion 747 because we had roommates-giving (Thanksgiving) that night and wanted to be festive.

Shoutout champion 747 — the winner of Fat Bear 2020.

I decided to film with my phone camera because that’s what I had available to me. However, to mimic the orientation of commercials, I shot in landscape mode. I also decided to use Movavi video editing software because the built in Windows Movie Editor did not have the tools necessary to edit my video the way I was imagining. Movavi offered a seven day free trial, so I signed up and edited there.

The Movavi editing environment.

In the editing environment I split and trimmed clips to fit the narrative to under a minute, added copyright free music that highlighted the before and after picture, and added some light transitions. I used fade in’s and out’s to make the music transition a little less abrupt, and a fade out at the end for a polished look. I tried other transitions between the video clips, but my untrained eye thought most of them looked tacky. So I just left it as is. I also put storyboard frame two (x four roommates) in a specific corner, and had each roommate’s frame two coming in sequentially after each other. The end result was all roommates frame two being shown at the same time. This “Brady Bunch Effect” helped highlight the universal appeal of Lumosity’s brain games. The final video is below.

The final video narrative.

The Analysis

After showing the video to friends and family, I have a good idea of what went well and what could be improved. Based on feedback, the music was attention grabbing, matched the fun and playful vibe of Lumosity, and elevated the video quality. The video clips (although the acting could have been better) were successful in creating a before and after Lumosity picture. However, I got feedback that the video quality was a bit low, and transitions were rough. These two elements led to it (correctly) feeling like an amateur video.

All the feedback taken together, I do believe my video was effective in setting the scenario. All of the friends and family that I showed my video to came away from the video knowing what Lumosity was after not knowing before. Additionally, a couple of people I showed the video too remarked how relatable the “before” scenario was, which was my goal. Overall, I think I did meet my goal of desirability, but there is something to be missed in overall fidelity.

Takeaways

There are some things I want to consider for a next iteration to improve the narrative:

  1. Place more emphasis on the brain/mind games part. Maybe add a slogan to the ending Lumosity title slide to make it clear?
  2. Shoot isolated screen/app views without roommates. This would allow viewers to take a high fidelity look at the Lumosity games without the person in the way.
  3. Volume consistency could also be better, with the upbeat music being slightly louder than the beginning music.

There are also some things I wish I did differently in the process of creating the narrative:

  1. Create higher fidelity video. I remembered after the fact that my roommate has a camera that could have been better.
  2. I also could have spent more time learning about transitions beforehand so I could have produced a higher quality narrative.
  3. I wish that I would have watched some videos for inspiration before I began so I could have been a bit more creative and professional.

Overall, I enjoyed laughing with my roommates while filming, and it was a good introduction to creating video narratives!

An aspiring UX practitioner studying Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington.