Link to Prototype: http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/kevrcav/masterc/home.html
Start-up Instructions: Open in Firefox or Chrome on any major operating system.
1.) View the amount of time that Jimmy has spent playing Teen games
2.) Add a restriction of 2 hours on Xbox 360 for Jimmy
3.) Configure your account to enable text alerts
Team Roles and Tasks:
Kevin: Web Designer
James: Business Analyst
User analyses, Task analyses, and Scenarios:
It can be tough for parents to keep track of how many games their kids are playing. With all the consoles, genres, and time spent away from kids making sure they’re not spending too much time on games and playing inappropriate games is a daunting task. That’s what master controller is for: giving parents a way to keep track of their kids games without being overbearing.
We have two classes of stakeholders. The first is the parents that use this software. They are the primary users for the software, who will be using it to set up a system of parental control for what games their children can play and for how long. The other class is the kids themselves. They are tertiary users. They are affected by this software, since they can interact with it in a limited fashion and their lives are directly affected by it.
Our first persona for Master Controller is Ms. Carol D, age 40. She is a single mother with two young boys, one 10 years old and the other 12. She’s rarely at home because her job as a lawyer keeps her busy almost constantly. She can’t be there all the time to make sure her kids aren’t always playing games, and making sure they get their homework done. She uses Master Controller to make sure her kids aren’t playing too many games when she can’t be paying attention.
Our second persona is a pair of two users: Lucius and Margaret O, Ages 38 and 36 respectively. They’re ordinary hard working parents – Lucius is a software engineer and Margaret is an editor at the local newspaper. The two had three kids, ages 1, 6, and 10. They love all their kids dearly, but their 6 year old needs twice the attention of their ten year old, and their one year old ten times that. Because of that, they can’t always be paying close attention to how much time their kids are on their consoles. They use this as a way to make their sure their children aren’t spending too much time on kids, and as a reminder to themselves to spend some time with their older children when they’re playing a lot of games.
Carol is sitting at work. She’s in overtime because the case she’s working on has had some hitches, so she can’t make it home. She was able to get her sitter to cover, but she’s still curious how her kids are doing. She would like a way to check if her kids are playing games, and how much they’ve played that day when she was gone.
To do this, Carol would have to perform a hopefully minimal number of tasks. If she is at her computer, she can open a web browser, go to the website for Master Controller, and then log into the site. After she logs in she can see the amount of time being played and what the current game is, if there is one on both child accounts. If she can’t get to a computer it’s also possible to access the site from a phone, following the same steps that would be done on a computer. If she can’t access the internet, she won’t be able to access the site. It’s also possible that the kids figured out they could unplug the console from the internet, which would make it look like they weren’t playing anything, but it would also be possible for the site to report when a console isn’t connected.
It’s likely that this feature would be accessed often. A parent would likely keep the tab open relevant hours if possible to keep an eye on what’s going on. It should not take long to access this information, since it will be accessed often. This task can also be completed on any device with a web browser, since it’s a web interface. Because it is a quick task, it’s possible for the user to check this information while on public transit or waiting for an appointment.
Lucius and his wife find that their kids want to start playing games that are outside their age range, and while they think it could be alright, they want to supervise their kids whenever they play those games. They would like to be able to restrict their kid’s ability to play these games when they don’t have their permission. As such, they would like to be warned whenever a game with an M rating game is being played by their 10 year old and a game with a T or M game is being played by their 6 year old.
To do this, they can go to the site, most likely on a personal computer, and can then edit settings after logging in. They can choose genres and ratings that they can restrict and ban their kids from playing. They can also choose specific games to ban, which they can search for in the interface. They can set a certain amount of time for their kids to play certain genres. They can also ban games based on why they were given a rating – for example, they can say their kids can’t play games for violence, but it’s okay to play games that only have crude humor.
This task is likely not going to be performed often. After this is set up, parents are likely going to be able to let the settings sit until they think their kids are able to handle more mature games. As such, the task doesn’t necessarily need to be done quickly, it can have a breadth of options for limiting games by genre. It should still be intuitive and easy to figure out, but it doesn’t need to be fast. The options that have been adjusted should be easily accessible, in case they want to be able to change a setting or two quickly. There should also be an option to disable these settings, in case the parents are able to supervise their kids while playing.
Carol’s children have multiple gaming systems and she needs a way to monitor them all. She’s tried setting parental controls on each of them individually, but that’s a pain to do and her kids are complaining that it forces them to evenly distribute their time among each system. Carol recently heard about Master Controller and decided to try it out herself, so she set up an account and now has to register her various devices.
Her goal is to manage and limit all her children’s game systems as a group in one interface. To do this, she must record the various player accounts on each system and enter them into Master Controller. There could be many exceptions in this process, as older gaming systems don’t have player account systems and less mainstream products may not allow monitoring of player accounts.
There aren’t many constraints to this process. Time is not an issue, and this task will likely only be performed once in a long period of time. Systems having some method of monitoring player accounts are the largest restraint.
Carol’s decided that enough is enough, her two young boys have been spending all their time playing video games instead of studying or playing outside. She’s heard of a new way of limiting time spent on games, Master Controller, but she doesn’t want to have a big hassle just to get her kids off the Xbox. She goes to the Master Controller website to give it a try and discovers that setting up an account is easy and fast.
Her goal is to get her children to spend more time on other activities by limiting their time on video games. To set up an account, she only needs to provide a valid email address and then confirm that she really is the owner of that address via email confirmation. While she’s setting up her account, she will also be prompted to create a child account for every individual who she wishes to monitor. She might not have all the information she needs to make these child accounts immediately, so she can choose to make them at a later date.
There will likely be few constraints to this process. Time is not an issue, and this task will only be performed once. The only real constraint is that the user needs an email address.
Lucius and Margaret are planning a birthday party for their oldest son, who is about to turn eleven. They want the kids at the party to be able to play video games, but don’t want to count the party hours against their child’s weekly time allowance. They also don’t want to have to finagle with a bunch of settings or have the party exception extend beyond the day of the party. They would like a simple way to have just one day’s worth of game playing not be tracked.
To do this, they would have to log into the Master Controller site, which can be done on any desktop or mobile platform with a web browser. From there, they would navigate to the child’s account page (which would be easily accessible from the parent’s dashboard) and hit the “Day Off” button. The dialog would prompt them to ask if they would like the “day off” to be the current date or a date sometime in the future. If they elect to remove the current date, then Master Controller would stop tracking activity on that child’s account until midnight of that day. If they select a date in the future, a calendar will pop up that allows them to select the day they wish to remove.
This feature will likely be accessed infrequently, but gains another use the more easily it can be accessed. Parents who are planning ahead for parties and the like can easily schedule in advance. However, if a parent wants to reward a child for good behavior immediately, they can elect to give them a “Day Off” for the remainder of that day. In this instance, the easier it is for a parent to give the child a “day off”, the more likely it is that they would utilize the feature for that purpose.
Carol is swamped with work at her office, but also wants to make sure her kids aren’t excessively playing video games. She wants to be able to know immediately if her kids are nearing or surpassing their limit, so she can quickly call home and put a stop to their misbehavior. Ideally, the alerts would come in a form where she would not have to continually check the Master Controller site, but instead would reach out to her so she would not be constantly distracted from her caseload.
To do this, Carol could enable Mobile Alerts from Master Controller, so she could be alerted when her children have reached a set limit of playing time. She will be able to select an option labelled “Mobile Alerts” on her Master Controller Dashboard, where she will be able to select an option to send or not send text alerts to a given phone number. One alert would be preset, an alert that texts her mobile phone number when a child has hit their playing time limit for the week. She can also add additional alerts after selecting the “Mobile Alerts” option, and would be able to set extra alerts individually for each child account. She could set alerts based on how much playing time the child has left (e.g., an alert when there is one hour remaining in total) and how much playing time the child has spent in games with certain ratings (e.g., an alert when the child has spent two hours that day in an “M”-rated game).
This is a feature that would likely be accessed infrequently. After initially setting up the text alerts that she desired, Carol would only need to return to the feature if she wanted to disable the alerts, which will be easy to do, or if there is a paradigm shift in the way her children spend their gaming time
Carol’s 12-year-old son has had difficulties gauging the amount of time he spends playing video games. He quickly surpassed his limit several times after Carol first started using Master Controller and has been punished accordingly. He is frustrated by this and wants a way to be warned when he is closing in on his time limits. His mother wants a way to alert him without always going through her, as she is often very busy at work. He has just recently acquired a cell phone, and ideally, he would be alerted through that method of communication as he usually has it on him while playing games.
To do this, Carol would have to access the Master Controller site (through whatever means are most convenient to her), go to the child accounts page, and select the option “Child Mobile Alerts”. This would allow her to enable customizable mobile alerts to be sent to the mobile phone number she inputs for her child. There is one preset alert when the child has run out of their allotted playing time, but alerts can be added and deleted in the same manner as for the parent’s mobile alerts. There is also an option to synchronize mobile alerts between the child and parent accounts, so that the child can simply receive whatever alerts the parent receives without additional setup. This task will probably be performed rarely, as after the initial set-up, the most likely change will be to alternate between enabling and disabling the alerts.
Lucius and Margaret want to encourage their older children to play together so they have more time to look after the youngest. Their ten-year-old plays a lot of single-player games on the Xbox 360, which leaves the 7-year-old feeling left out. On the Wii U, on the other hand, the family has mostly family-friendly multiplayer games that the children can enjoy playing together. To incentivize playing the Wii U games, Lucius and Margaret want to be able to give the children more time to play on the Wii U than the Xbox 360.
To do this, Lucius and Margaret would have to log into the Master Controller site (whether on a desktop or a mobile platform), select their children’s accounts, and opt to set Device-Specific Restrictions. From there, they would give their children different amounts of playing time on different consoles instead of a universal limit, or set additional restrictions on top of the universal limit. For example, they could set their 10-year-old’s account settings so that he could play 3 hours of Xbox 360 games and 7 hours of Wii U games per week. A pie chart of the child’s allotted playing time would also be provided so parents can easily visualize how they want their plan works.
This task would most likely be performed fairly frequently intially, as parents adjust the settings back and forth until they hit a balance with which they feel comfortable. However, the usage would drop off later on after the parents have hit the balance. This task would not have to be performed quickly, and should rather be performed carefully so that parents are forced to put a little extra thought into how the restrictions they want will work out.
Carol only want her children to spend a certain amount of time playing games across the entire week. She doesn’t care which games they play or on what device, but wants to ensure that the total number of hours spent playing doesn’t exceed ten.
To do this, Carol would have to log onto the Master Controller site, go to her childrens’ accounts, and select “Universal Limit”. Under that option, she would be able to set a certain amount of time her children are allowed to spend playing video games across all Master Controller-compatible devices per week or per day, depending on which better suits her needs.
This task is likely to be performed relatively infrequently. After an initial fine-tuning period, Carol is likely to know how much time she wants to give her children to play games. If they run into problems of one sort or another and Carol want to change their total limit, it should be simple to do so.