GOAL: enhance the user experience when engaged in electronic prototyping and improve user attention

Description: Using web-based content, tangible entities, and augmented reality, three editions of PPCards were conceptualized, and prototypes were developed and evaluated from a user perspective.
Mitigating Split Attention Effects

Prototyping electronic circuits is often facilitated by web-based tutorials and breadboards. Several virtual and hybrid platforms do exist, each carrying their own limitations. Some of these platforms fall prey to split-attention effects, wherein users are required to split their attention to integrate multiple sources of spatially separated information. This hinders the learning and prototyping processes. Other platforms provide a single source of information, but lack tangible interaction with electronic components or suffer from the absence of active feedback which can also hinder these processes. There is hence a need for prototyping platforms that mitigate split attention effects, while continuing to provide other desirable aspects such as tangible interaction. To address this, we present three editions of PPCards, a card-based platform for prototyping electronic circuits, towards overcoming limitations of existing paradigms. Through a comparative study, it was determined that the first edition of PPCards outdid the conventional breadboard web-based tutorial paradigm in aspects of split attention, usability, and user experience. The second and third editions build upon successful characteristics of the first, additionally provisioning support for multimedia content and real-time feedback during the prototyping process. Based on quantitative data and qualitative feedback, we go on to discuss design considerations for future tangible card-based tools.

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