Our second Manchester focus group took place at Brighter sound this week, We had returning members of the first session who wanted to continue to jam and some fresh faces; we will be doing some ‘spotlight on’ posts about our focus group members in the coming weeks.
We’d developed a couple of new features from the first session including a VCO and low pass filter so we asked the first focus group members to play these and also introduce new members to the machines. The interesting conversation and discussion areas were around tactility and materiality of the machines this week; thinking about how the user feels and touches the machine. Could we produce a vibration through the wood (indeed the choice of wood as a material for the machines references retro synthesizer builds and the timbral beauty and nuance you have with guitars and wood instruments). Another interesting area was around the labeling of the pots/parameters. Some of the group thought it would be good to have labels for the individual parameters on the machines such as ‘feedback’, ‘VCO’ ‘LPF’ etc. Others in the group enjoyed not knowing initially what each pot did but having to work with the instrument to discover what the functions could achieve. We discussed the possibility of creating graphics or icons rather than traditional labels which the user would decipher the codes. Also thought about how the machines could talk to each other and switch each other on or off or be controlled by the light of another.
Here is our recording of the group 2 feedback: