Why Focus Testing is Important

by Steve Bowler on December 21, 2009 · 4 comments

in comedy,design,fail

So HP recently developed a smart web cam that will track your face as you move around a room (I don’t know, don’t ask me, maybe some people do web conferencing/skype/nudie cam while standing up).  It works really really great!

If you’re not black.

I guess the HP techs designed it to look for contrasts between your nose, cheek bones, and eyes, but the camera lacks the ability/resolution to detect that on a black person.

So how does this apply to video games, you ask?  Because as game developers, we’ve learned that you don’t make a product/game/application for yourself.  You make it for the demographic you’re designing it for (kids, Moms, hardcore gamers, casual web development, etc.).  You need to test it using your core demographic, because if you don’t, you’re only designing it for yourself.  I’m working on a longer post regarding this design philosophy, so hopefully we’ll see that go up later this week.  But in the meantime, let’s enjoy the HP engineering fail, shall we?  How much do you want to bet that the entire HP design/engineering/tech team that worked on this didn’t have a single black guy on it?