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用户 体验

Sense Making of Ubiquitous and Unstructured Information

[The idea is still under revision, but this is sort of the direction we wanted to explore in our final project in the advanced HCI class]

Sitting in CTB, Sally was randomly entering a couple of key words she could remember from the group brainstorming meeting and a couple of online conversations she had with Xuan the other day. It was Saturday morning already, less than 24 hours away from due time of their project proposal and the group still has not settled on a concrete main project idea yet. “Xuan’s anecdote about her information retrieval experience? tagging, sharing? CSCW?… it might be related to Jeremy’s idea from our lab meeting last week, or that CSCW talk I attended in Savannah, or even the TED talk someone shared on Facebook…”, she was trying to remember and put together all separate pieces, “if only I could have a tool to help me cross connect and make sense of all these information, and it is the best that Xuan and Tejas could both see fill in their thoughts and information as well.”

Indeed, either intentionally or unintentionally, we are exposed to a wealth of information in our experience interacting with the world, especially in this digital age with various information sources and communication channels. Information resides in those spontaneous search queries, IM or email conversations, etc. is highly situated and contextualized. Therefore, even with comprehensive information management tools, it eludes or loses its value if not systematically organized and shared in a timely fashion. In this final project, we try to address and seek possible solutions to this problem, that is, how to make sense of the ubiquitous and unstructured information we come across everyday both in terms of individual level information management and group level information sharing.

Previous Research

There has been a substantial amount of research done with regards to personal information management (PIM) in the field of HCI. People’s behavior of informal note taking, creating to-do lists or even composing emails sent to ourselves to record information scraps (e.g.: Bellotti et al., 2005; Lin et al., 2004) have been investigated in a wide variety of ethnographic studies. As reviewed by Truong and Hayes (2007), early PIM systems emphasized on offering users convenient ways to take notes or tag miscellaneous pieces of information. However, users’ lightweight and unstructured note taking behavior hinders the efficiency of such tools in terms of creating meaningful future archiving criteria (Kalnikaité & Whittaker, 2007). As cognitive studies of reminiscence habits inform us that the mechanisms of utilizing and retrieving information are largely related to the situation in which the information is activated (Czerwinski & Horvitz, 2002), recent PIM tools tried to incorporate the function of automatic context association. For instance, a lightweight information capture tool devised by Van Kleek et al (2007) called Jourknow not only enables users to take unstructured notes of information, but also associates a variety of contextual metadata such as time, file location or even background music to facilitate future information retrieval.

Contribution to HCI Community

Our work might extend previous work in this area from the following three aspects:

First, previous research in this area has a strong focus on individual information management in terms of how to effectively record and retrieve information. However, even with a database of well archived data, users are still lack of meaningful clues to organically connects and make sense of the data. An academic article read yesterday, a lecture attended a month ago or even an anecdote heard in a conversation, bridges are needed to connect these individual data islands.

Second, individual’s experience of viewing documents or browsing websites is no longer entirely socially isolated. Along with the popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, etc., is the increasing number and bandwidth of channels via which users can both actively seek and share information. How to effectively subtract the context as well as cross-relate shared and exchanged information embedded in social media platforms is crucial to devise a comprehensive information management system.

Third, very few existing studies view the sense making issue of information scraps from a group collaboration level. Even with various group collaboration tools, a fair amount of spontaneous information seeking and exchange are still left uncaptured or unshared. An fluid two-way channel is needed for group members to review each others’ information scrap archives, so as to establish a better common ground and facilitate rich and dynamic collaborations.

Relevant Theories

Our goal of the project is to think about ways to “make sense” of unstructured information users create in daily life. One way we now think of, that could help to “make sense” of these unstructured information scraps is to “structure” them by associating and relating them together using contextual cues around these information. We hope these contextual cues around both individually-created information scraps (e.g. personal notes, or some article or website individuals want to save), and socially-created information scraps (e.g. sporadic IM chat with your group members, etc.) could create some “storylines” behind each pieces of information, which help individuals and groups make sense of these unstructured information, better organize them to aid individual and group memory and information retrieval, and appropriately share these information.

Some work from psychology informs us why people create information scraps, how they manipulate them, and why they need help to make sense of them. Ross and Nisbett (1991) framed this problem in channel factors, as the “small but critical facilitators or barriers” to an action. Ross and Nisbett demonstrated the amplified effects that small difficulties or facilitators will have on human action, just as a pebble placed at the fork of a stream can dramatically divert the course of water. Seemingly small time and effort requirements such as booting up a laptop might thus be perceived as enough of a burden to cause us to use other means of capture such as writing on our hands. Information scraps could serve as a memory prosthesis (Lamming et al. 1994) or exosomatic memory, later used to remind us of the original thought. However, creating information scraps alone might not be enough. Information scraps usually help us index into our memory via a variety of contextual cues. For example, location is a very powerful memory primer (Darken and Sibert 1993); a combination of knowing what and when can also effectively aid recall of the rest of a memory (Wagenaar 1986). We are also able to recall a variety of contextual information about our documents to potentially aid in refinding, such as textual content, visual elements, file type, or implicit narratives around file creation (Blanc-Brude and Scapin 2007).

As mentioned, creating information scraps is not enough for individuals to make sense of these data. Some theories on sensemaking highlighted the importance of “storyline” behind data on both individual and organizational level. On the individual level, sensemaking is the largely cognitive activity of constructing a hypothetical mental model of the current situation and how it might evolve over time, what potential actions can be taken in response, what the projected outcomes of those responses are, and what values drive the choice of future action (Wikipedia). According to Klein et al. (2006), sensemaking is an active two-way process of fitting data into a frame (mental model) and fitting a frame around the data. Neither data nor frame comes first; data evoke frames and frames select and connect data. When there is no adequate fit, the data may be reconsidered or an existing frame may be revised. This description resembles the Recognition-Metacognition model (Cohen et al. 1996), which describes the metacognitive processes that are used by individuals to build, verify, and modify working models (or “stories”) in situational awareness to account for an unrecognised situation. We can interpret sensemaking of a piece of information as putting this information into a current conceptual framework or individual workflow to better understand the information in a larger informational context, or use this piece of information in the future.

On the group level, sensemaking is a collaborative process of creating shared awareness and understanding out of different individuals’ perspectives and varied interests. The process of moving from situational awareness in individuals to shared awareness and understanding to collaborative decision-making can be considered a socio-cognitive activity in that the individual’s cognitive activities are directly impacted by the social nature of the exchange and vice versa. (Wikipedia). Consider two members of a three-person group randomly chatted via email about part of the project plans, or some local members of a distributed project team informally talked with each other about some new project ideas, these recorded information scraps could be shared with other members in the group to help with collaborative sensemaking of the group work.

Therefore, creating contextual cues around information scraps is more than just aiding individual and group memory. It could potentially promote self-awareness about your workflow, or your communication style with others, and a group-level situational awareness. We defined two kinds of information scraps (IS) in our proposal: individually-created IS, and socially-created IS. One thing to notice is that we aim to aid sensemaking of both individually-created IS and socially-created IS on the individual level and on the group level. As seen in this table:

Individidually-created information scraps Individual level

(way of sensemaking: relating)

e.g. relating one article about shopping tips retrieved from a website, and one personal note about shopping
Group level

(way of sensemaking: sharing)

e.g. sharing one article you retrieved with other group members.
Socially-created information scraps Individual level

(way of sensemaking: relating)

e.g. relating an email with a friend that contain some important information about a job opportunity with your personal note about looking for a job.
Group level

(way of sensemaking: sharing)

e.g. sharing a chat history with one group member A, with other members like B and C.

User Studies

The targeted users for this application could be anyone who has needs for better organizing, structuring, and sharing information scraps on both individual and group level. For this project, we’ll focus on studying people who work in a collaborative environment. We plan to conduct user studies with two groups, each group consisting at least two members.

In the first phase, we will conduct user interviews with open-ended questions, focusing on how they created information scraps, how they organize and make sense of these information scraps on both individual level and group level, and the potential information management needs that have not been satisfied by current systems and collaborative tools.

In the second phase, we will perform a contextual enquiry process and observe the needs and existing ways our target group used for collaboration and information sharing within the group. We will ask our target group members to share their conversations in the form of chat logs, emails and other digital forms with rich context information such as location, people involved, and topics/tags. This information will be used to analyze the current practices in information sharing and retrieval.

In the third phase, we will analyze the individual and group information scraps we collected and try to map the internal information patterns via various context cues. We base on our observation and users’ need we identified in the first phase to come up with design mock-ups to justify/satisfy users’ requirements. Then a second-round interview will be conducted to ask users to reflect on the design mock-ups. Finally we’ll present design implications from the user study.

Project Plan:

Week 1: Background reading, IRB (?)

Week 2 (spring break): More reading, data collection in progress

Week 3: User interview, writing progress report, data collection

Week 4: Report due. Analyzing data

Week 5: Design mock-up, user testing

Week 6: User interview and feedback, writing results up

Week 7: Writing the draft paper

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensemaking

Bellotti, V., Ducheneaut, N., Howard, M., Smith, I., & Grinter, R. E. (2005). Quality versus quantity: E-mail-centric task management and its relation with overload. Human-Computer Interaction, 20(1), 89–138.

Blanc-brude, T., & Scapin, D. (2007). What do people recall about their documents? Implications for desktop search tools. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI’07). ACM Press, 102–111.

Cohen, M., Freeman, J., & Wolf S. (1996) Meta-recognition in time stressed decision making: Recognizing, critiquing, and correcting. Human Factors, 38, 206-219.

Czerwinski, M., & Horvitz, E. (2002). An investigation of memory for daily computing events. People and computers XVI: memorable yet invisible, 229.

Darken, R., & Sibert, J. (1993). A toolset for navigation in virtual environments. In Proceedings of the 6th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST’93). ACM Press, 157–165.

Kalnikaité, V., & Whittaker, S. (2007). Software or wetware?: discovering when and why people use digital prosthetic memory. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (p. 80).

Klein, G., Moon, B., & Hoffman, R. (2006). Making sense of sensemaking Ii: a macro-cognitive model. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 21, 88-92

Lamming, M., Brown, P., Carter, K., Eldridge, M., Flynn, M., Louie, G., Robinson, P., & Sellen, A. (1994). The design of a human memory prosthesis. Comput. J. 37, 153–163.

Lin, M., Lutters, W. G., & Kim, T. S. (2004). Understanding the micronote lifecycle: improving mobile support for informal note taking. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 687–694).

Ross , L., & Nisbett, R. (1991). The person and the situation: Perspectives of social psychology.McGraw-Hill. New York, NY.

Truong, K. N., & Hayes, G. R. (2007). Ubiquitous Computing for Capture and Access. Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction, 2(2), 95–171.

Van Kleek, M., Bernstein, M., & Karger, D. R. (2007). Gui—phooey!: the case for text input. In Proceedings of the 20th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (p. 202).

Wagenaar, W. (1986). My memory: A study of autobiographical memory over six years. Cognitive Psych. 18, 225–252.

Bravo! … and the “sketch” homework again…

Just got back from a friend’s piano recital from Barns  hall.  The performance totally blew me away. From Chopin’s Mazurka to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata to the last piece, the classical Piano Concerto No.1 from Tchaikovsky, his delivery was steady and yet very emotional. Having been entangled in a few life and future choices, it has been a while from the last time that I so “mindlessly” immersed myself in the flow of pure music. As a CSCW/CMC person, I guess I have already been well trained to make this comparison: would I still be so moved and feeling attached to the music and performance if I were watching the performance on a computer remotely? How can we, in this digital world, still preserve the original feeling and inspirations we get from a face to face performance, a live concert or music in general.

Have been reading the piece on the gap between social requirements and technical feasibility on and off during the weekend. The socio-technical gap mentioned by Ackerman et al is closely related to the social need in the field of CSCW, the need for collaborators to keep being aware of each other, to socially interact with each other. No matter how advance the collaboration system is, how many awareness channels it provides to distributed teams, this great divide between social needs and technical needs still gets in the way, limiting the possibility for us to build tangible social rapport via technology. CSCW or collaboration in general is still to some extent goal-oriented. However, the appreciation to music  or arts in general requires high personal involvement and reflections, which sets even a higher barrier for technology to come into play. I remember when I failed to get a ticket for Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera House, the staff there told me that I could go online, register an online account so that I could watch the HD live performance video of Carmen online. I did not even consider that is an option. I would rather wait then wasting my enjoyment of the performance in front of a computer. The intellectual challenge in terms of using technology to support arts or creating a art technology crossover raises even more challenging issues as the appreciation to arts is highly self-motivated and varies from person to person.

Inspired by my friend’s recital and this artistic-technical gap, my first two sketch ideas are aiming at creating an awareness to the appreciation of music on Cornell Campus.

1. Cornell’s most wanted song

I read a book called American’s most wanted painting last semester. Two artists Komar and Melamid did a national wide survey to collect American people’s preference on color, foreground object, background scene, arrangements, etc, and created a painting which is “in theory” a composition and representation of American artistic taste and preferences.  A similar technique can be applied to music preference. If we quantify music by the following criteria:

Genre / Tempo / Arrangement / Pitch / Accompany Instrument / Vocal Singer / lyrics …

A display can be place in Willard Straight Hall, or just a building with a high student flow-rate. The display will show a dynamically changing music score of Cornell’s Alma mater.  The dynamic changes come from the collective contribution from Cornell students. The idea is that, when a student place his or her mp3, iPod, music phone or just any device contains music files onto the surface of the display,  even iTune or Pandora account , the display will automatically subtract and import all the music features (tempo, pitch, etc.) of those files into the music database. Except for the lyrics part, every time the song starts over, it is based on a refreshed music database with updated tempo, pitch, etc.  The new song is collectively composed by Cornell students’ music collection, representing their music experience and preferences. For each individual contributor, right after he or she imported the music collection, a newly generated song will be send to his or her music player, ensuring he or she is the last contributor of this unique Alma mater.

I realize the visual display is a bit difficult to be applied in a situation of music appreciation. However, the same idea can surely be applied to photos.  Students can import the photos in their phones or cameras to generate a Cornell students’ most wanted picture.  However, compared to music, importing photos involves more privacy concerns. Advanced image processing techniques are required here to subtract objects from the photo so as to avoid showing any private visual information.

2. What’s in your music collection <> What your music taste is

Usually one’s music collection is exactly a representation of one’s music preferences. We all have those songs we listen to for tens or even hundreds of times, whereas some other songs are left alone in our collections and we seldom play them. The second sketch idea also involves importing individual music files to represent a collective music preference. However, instead of purely importing the song lists, the statistics of the times a song has been played will also be taken into consideration.

The display will be a collection of singer or artist names. The size of the name represents the frequency of it is appeared in one’s music collection, whereas the darker the color shows its actual popularity (how many times it has been played), which is a more accurate representation of one’s music preferences. Once a person’s music library is sync-ed with the display, as one’s music collection and playlist change, they’ll automatically be reflected on the display as well.  The display is a way to create the awareness of the variety of music. Cornell can use the information to arrange the on campus music performance accordingly, to both meet students’ music needs, and offer opportunities for students to learn and appreciate music that they less frequently listen to.

3. The Outreach of Kennedy Hall

With the help of various communication technologies, the scope of our communication can go beyond the physical limitation of a building. If use Kennedy Hall as an example, a professor can collaborate with some researchers from Canada via video conferencing system, students can text their high school friends in California, international students can even call their family members in other countries. If a system can subtract the location information from all the telecommunication activities (telephone conversations, text messages, emails, SNS communication, etc.) going on in the building, a follow visualization can tell us how the building is connected to the entire world. Different colors of those lines can refer to different telecommunication connections.

Leveraging our ability by crossing modalities

The general trend in technological field is to leverage our ability to accomplish things that we couldn’t do without technology (to create new need). For instance, with cars we can get to our destinations without running and walking. However, the trade off is that we have to go through the process of learning how to operate the tool and adapt ourselves to various protocols of those machines even though some of them may be are contrary to how we naturally behave everyday (e.g.: we have to learn to use our right feet to control the gas and brake to adjust the speed of the car).

In recent years, instead of keep advancing technology performance (making them versatile and sophisticated), the focus has been to some extent shifted to human/user and our natural behavior. Readings and materials we had this week are about how technology can leverage or satisfy our needs in this physical world by integrating our natural preferences and behaviors to the information gathering and processing in the virtual world (in general, technology aided world). Mouse-light leverages our natural bimanual ability which hasn’t been used a lot when using single hand with traditional mouse. Shark leverages our ability to perceive and draw lines, create shapes as opposed to discrete points.

Following this design trend, the angle that I choose to do my two designs for the week is to solve a problem that I frequently had with my computer: the information overload on my desktop.

(from the lit review of my thesis, lol) “Those IM messages, emails and feeds not only demand a fair amount of attention which might exceed an ordinary person’s visual capacity limits, but also receiving various kinds of information from different sources and in different formats (e.g.: web browser, document viewer, instant messenger, etc.) at the same time will lead to an information overload in terms of human visual system’s conjunction limits as well (Grudin, 2001; Miller & Stasko, 2002).”

Relating to this idea of “naturally mapping design”, I started to think the conseqence and the solutions we might have when having information overload problem in real life.

1. Overload -> Clean Up.

If I have too many things on my desk or table, the space for me to work become smaller and smaller (until I cannot stand and have to clean up). Usually the things stack on the table can be sorted or will not be used in a short time. The same thing with our computer. I have this bad habit of starting too many programs, opening too many tabs in browsers and subscribing too many RSS feeds. Thanks to better and better performance of today’s laptops, I usually won’t get too slowed down by all the things that I opened. Moreover, today’s browser gives you multi-tab function and also you can hide your toolbar, but still, it’s indeed impose the overload problem on me in terms of managing different information source and remembering what’s the next things that I should do. If the real world motivation for me to clean my desk is the more and more limited space that I can work, why not transforming the “crowdness” in real life to our physical experience in using the laptop.

Imagine if the size of your keyboard can change according to the overload level of your computer. When the keyboard become smaller and smaller, and all buttons on the keyboard are squeezing towards each other, would that make you feel more obligated to “clean up” the applications on your desktop? Or when some buttons on your keyboard change their colors into gray and lost the text on it, or become more and more difficult to press. The indirect metaphor here is that they are covered by other things or fading away. Would that remind you of sorting your virtual stuff on your computer?

2. Overload -> Find Extra Spaces (to create more mess…)

Another way to solve the overload problem on table is to find some other places to put your things, besides study desk, we still have chairs, sofas or even bed (a lot of different places that we could create mess). I saw this ads for windows mobile 7 the other day. Although their idea of expanding the limited desktop into an “infinite” virtual space is not that different from how applications on iphone are arranged in different pages, so that you could access many of them by change between pages. I think their contribution is to give users connections between the visible space and the invisible space. When expanding my workspace, the tradeoff is usually that: the more space that I have, the more difficult I will be able to find some specific things. The “peripheral awareness” of my physical/virtual artefacts is what’s important in expanding our workspace (see, getting back to my thesis again smile )

Several ways that we could leverage our ability in this circumstances of information expanding (as opposed to overloading). One way is to make the display of information more ambient. The peripheral or background display of various applications can be seamlessly connected to focal or foreground display (computer screen). Things displayed in your peripheral won’t be so obtrusive that disturbs your work, but informative enough that you will be able to find things when you need them. Another way is to make the search of information more quickly and convenient. The way we search for information and locate our attention in real life is mostly through eye gaze. If by looking at some point on the left edge of my laptop screen, the information hiding on the left can become salient and gradually moving towards central display area. Moreover, as the bimanual ability hasn’t been fully leveraged in today’s technology yet, a physical scroll button (like a game console stick) that we can use to control the vertical and horizontal expansion of our screen.

Google Buzz [将]彻底改变(了)社会化媒体[吗?]

像我这种heavy gmail和gtalk的用户,对buzz当然是“趋之若鹜”,不过到现在为止,我身边活跃的buzz使用者也大多还是我在gtalk上频繁联系的好友们。Buzz让我对于我自己的好友的twitter message和google reader分享的实时阅读带来一些便利,不用log in不同的social media平台交叉阅读。阅读的便利,自然而然的带来了评论的便利,甚至不用twitter的好友也可以积极的对我的朋友的tweets进行comment,转移并且聚集了一定的人气。不过仅凭这点就判定buzz将成为改变社会化媒体版图的关键 似乎还为时过早。

作为过度使用这些社会化媒体的我们,本来对这些工具的热度和对人们生活影响的程度就有自己不可避免的bias(每天洗澡的人是想象不到这个世界上到底有多少人早上起来连脸都不洗的…LOL)。需要考虑的问题是,离开我们身边的社会化媒体圈,普通用户的生活中到底有多少social media的影响力,他们真正的需求又是哪些。

下文转载 Mashable 网站下 Social Analyst 栏目。原文对 Google Buzz 如何改变了社会化媒体进行了分析。解答了一系列问题:为什么它增长如此快速?隐私问题对 Google 有什么影响?还有最重要的问题:对其 Twitter、Facebook 和其他社会化媒体,Google Buzz 意味着什么?

Google Buzz 用户暴增

将 Buzz 置入到拥有数百万用户的 Gmail 中,很明显为 Google 的这个社会化应用带来了大量的用户。目前 Google 只公布了2个数据:在约 56个小时内,Google Buzz 的发帖数和评论数超过了 900 万条,每小时平均 16 万条buzz贴和回复。

另一个数字是:每分钟移动设备登录数量超过 200,每天登录数量接近 30 万。

为什么用户投入 Buzz 的怀抱?

chrome-ssb

这个问题既简单又复杂:为什么 Google Buzz 成功而 Google 的其他尝试全却未做到?

一个最明显的答案是:将 Buzz 直接置入到 Gmail 中。这是一个非常绝妙的策略,不过也带来了隐私方面的问题。只需轻轻拨下一个开关,Buzz 就获得了上千万的用户。

直接在 Inbox 下插入 Buzz 标签,并显示未读 Buzz 数量,还有来自 Buzz 的提醒消息塞满了收件箱,用户想不用都很难。

对于“你觉得自己使用 Buzz 的首要原因是什么?”

其中一些回答很好地说明为什么 Buzz 如此受欢迎。

– 易用,界面简洁

– 它就是我的菜。不用做什么设置,很简单地就建立了联系

– 首要?它置入到 gmail 中了。之后,其他用户和主题就显示在我面前而其他网络还没有这么直接可见。

– 从1 到 10 对社会化网络的社交性打分,Twitter 大约 3,Facebook 大约 4 而 Buzz 为 9 分。

– Buzz 增长这么快的主要原因是 Gmail 拥有大量的成熟用户。Gmail 是我经常访问的一个网站,因为我可以在一个窗口中查看我的日历、事项列表并进行聊天。

解决隐私问题

disable-buzz

Google Buzz 增长的阻碍之一就是遭到大量指责的隐私问题。由于Buzz直接嵌入到 Gmail 中,其他人可以找到你的email地址。由于它会自动follow你最常发送邮件的朋友,人们会发现你使用 email 的习惯。

对于隐私问题,Google 闪电般作出反应,已经对隐私设置进行修改。自动follow改为建议,并提供关闭 Buzz 的标签。

几个月后,很少人还会记得有关这次隐私的指责。正如用户已经忘记了 Facebook 失败的 News Feed 以及其灾难性的策略,人们也将忘记并原谅 Buzz 最初的隐私问题。

通过自动 follow 和自动进入功能,Google 已经将 Buzz 的种子种下,而由于最近对隐私设置的修改,它不会受到对隐私的指责的影响。Google 的这些策略也许不是有意为之,不过它的确具有非常实际的效果。

对 Twitter 和 Facebook 的潜在影响

对于社会化媒体中2个最重要的网站 Twitter 和 Facebook,快速增长的 Google Buzz 意味着什么?

为了对 Buzz 的影响进行分析,让我们看看 Twitter 和 Facebook 的关键问题,以及可能的答案:

问:Buzz 会干掉 Facebook 或 Twitter 吗?

答:不会。没有什么可以干掉这2个服务。大量的热心用户不会让这种事情发生。

问:Buzz 会减缓 Facebook 或 Twitter 的增长速度吗?

答:一定会。一天 24 小时,如果用户在 Buzz 花费了 15 分钟,那其他地方就要少用 15 分钟。即使每天每人在 Facebook 或 Twitter 上少发一条信息,对于 Buzz 那可能意味这增加了几百万次更新。

问:Buzz 会比 Twitter 还大吗?

答:它已经比 Twitter 了。

gmail-twitter-graph

Twitter 在全球拥有 1800-2500 万用户,我们不能确定具体的数字,先假设它有 3000 万用户,而 Gmail 仅在美国就拥有 3800 万德独立访问者,而且那还是去年 9 月份的数据。

问:广告商和商家会将投入到 Facebook 和 Twitter 的资金转移到 Buzz 吗?

答:上百万的人在用 Buzz,他们怎么可能不这样做?

Buzz 已经从 Twitter、Facebook 和其他社会化媒体那里夺取了一大块市场。当商家和广告商更好地认识到如何利用 Buzz 及其几百万用户时,Buzz 获取的市场只会继续增加。Google 推出 Buzz,相对于在一个布满铁钉的房间里放入一块磁铁。

有关 Google Buzz 的预测

gmail-260-buzz已经着陆的 Google Buzz 站在改变社会化媒体的版图。Gmail 整合、实时回复、易用使用和新的用户现在成为Buzz世界的一部分。

我们不仅可以预计 Twitter 和 Facebook 会做出响应,而且还将会看到开发者将转移他们的关注。还记得去年的 Twitter 应用程序的淘金热吗?当 Twitter 用户快速增加,无数的开发者利用 Twitter 的 API 开发出很多绝妙的应用程序。

现在如果 Google 真的想要改变开发者这个生态系统,它可以成立自己的 App 商店并为 Buzz 应用程序提供广告收入分成。在 Google Buzz 内为应用程序提供快速简易的盈利能力,将从 Twitter、Facebook 和移动平台那里夺走一部分开发资源。

如果Buzz能够保持这种势头,每个人,从出版商到开发者到500强企业,将不得不关注 Buzz 上的信息流。如果Buzz能带来流量或者在其中置入广告,那么我们将无法预测 Buzz 能够在成功之路上走多远。别忘了 Google Buzz 才刚刚推出,还有更多杀手级的功能很快就会出现。

社会化媒体版图已经永久地被改变了。忽视 Buzz 将是一个代价沉重的错误,因为 Google 最终为游戏规则改变者下了定义。

theory & application

The discussion section from Ling et al.’s piece resonated with my thoughts (and some confusions) on social theories and their applications either to design or sometimes in terms of further theory development.

I remember two years ago, when working with my college friends in participating in a technology design competition, what we used to ground our design idea are: data (gathered both from relevant literature/reports and talking to targeted audience), trial results (we made several prototypes, and tested them to see which one would give us the best outcome) and our intuition (like the concept of “naive physics”). Back then, I never thought of digging into a psychology, communication or cognition book to research some relevant social theories first, to see if any of those would help us to guide our design. I believe the way we came up with our design idea for the competition is what most companies are doing today when devising their new products. They do “marketing research” and “data analysis” based on very tangible facts: testing marketing data, product popularity, usability test, etc.  Rarely they would consider what’s the story (psycho-dynamic processes driving people’s behavior) behind people’s choice of using one product over other options.  While the usability test and various market data do provide us with first hand evidence of what design, what feature or which prototype was mostly welcomed or hated by users, and to some extent why, they inevitably involve a lot of “contextual noise” which make the results of those data analysis and tests can hardly be generated to other circumstances. Most companies rely heavily on data to make their decision of which design or what product to launch, even though those data mostly only generate “surface realism” or “naive interpretation” of people’s behavior.

I guess they don’t have to think through everything before they launch a product either (by the time they sort out all the theories and processes, they will definitely lose the timing for their business). I couldn’t agree more with what have been mentioned in Ling et al.’s article that the two major contributions of theories are inspiration and prediction. Ideas should be generated both inductively (from data) and deductively (from theories). If without the bond-based and identity-based theories, one can hardly think of the idea to emphasize that part in the “email campaign”, maybe intuitively but definitely cannot be systematically recruiting people to participate more in an online community. Since theories are high level ideas that are more generalizable to different circumstances, the psychological  strategy to recruit people to a golf club can also be applied to an online setting.  In terms of prediction, by using controlled experiment or study, we could test whether certain theories could explain part of people’s behaviors in some settings. Various theories help us gradually map out the pieces of psychological processes that guide people’s behavior. We may not get the whole picture, which is why the prediction is not always accurate, but step by step, we could learn about the influencing factors. Also, different processes they are inter-winded and mutually influencing each other, so lots of compound effects will occur even if you’ve identified most of the underlying psychological process, not to mention contextual differences, individual differences in terms of previous experience, social/cultural background, etc.

I want to think theories are the ingredients which consist of the recipes behind each dishes (our social behavior). We could know which is the most popular dish simply by letting people taste and select, but it would be very hard for us to replicate and generate new and creative dishes without knowing at least part of the ingredients and/or recipes. I guess mapping out those ingredients (processes) are the responsibilities of our academia.

The Motivational Techniques of “WordPress.com”

Goal: Consider how real-world systems use motivational techniques to encourage use.

Assignment: You are analyzing a system of your choice in terms of the techniques it uses to motivate use, and suggesting design changes that would increase its “stickiness”. You should focus on design features and explaining why they’re motivating in terms of social science theory.

So here it comes, my third Homework for Dan’s class:

The “Stickiness” of Blogging on WordPress.com

I admit that I am “responsible” for several so called “dead blogs” in cyber space. Several blog platforms and communities that I have tried before are not attractive enough for me to keep posting things regularly. Three months ago, I started to blog using the service from WordPress. Surprisingly, I am still blogging on it on a weekly basis and the blog “Nuttyears'” has almost 2000 hits so far, which makes me wonder what has lead to the “stickiness” of this particular blogging platform:

Stickiness 1: Freedom to customize/personalize blog page

WordPress offers users a lot of freedom in terms of choosing blog themes, page layout, sidebar widgets, which serves well users’ need to purposefully create certain online self-presentations. Similar to selectively posting photos and links on one’s SNS pages, the “manipulation” of one’s blog is considered by some people as a way to represent their attitude or to perfect their social self-presentation. Though this is not something unique of WordPress, I do think this platform provides a greater variety of options and tools to arrange and polish the page compared to other blog host sites.

Stickiness 2: Integrated Stats System

In the dashboard provided by WordPress, users can easily access the viewing stats of the blog. The number of blog hit can be viewed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The figure above intuitively shows the popularity of my blogs in the first half of February. When click on those specific points representing each day, you’ll get to know how many views happened on that specific day and what article has been posted on the day. Below the blog stats, there are “top posts” (ranking the view times of each posts) and “top searches” (ranking the key words people used to find your blog). Users can also add a widget automatically shows the total visits to your blog on the sidebar.

Since I am not writing this blog to record my private emotions, I use it to record my thoughts and experience, reflect on things happening around me and share them. I found the stats part to be particularly sticky, cause I want to know there are audience out there and my little posts and thoughts have been heard by this big world in some way. Just like FB, you can also set to let WordPress send you email notifications when there are incoming comments.

This is similar to the controversial motivational technique used in Chinese version of Facebook – Xiaonei.com. The SNS site would tell you how many people have visited your page, and how many people have looked at the photo you just posted. I’ve always been curious about what the underlying socio-emotional processes explaining people’s behavior in frequently checking on the “popularity” of one’s page or certain photo/posts. These behaviors are actually not that different from posting and reading other’s comments on one’s own status updates. They all serve as real-life “manipulation checks” to constantly measure how certain thoughts or certain ways of online self-presentations are perceived and evaluated by other people.

Stickiness 3: Semantic connections and links among posts (ways to build strong ties to a community)

It is written on the official introduction page of WordPress that “when you write a post and add relevant tags, we automatically add them to our global tag system and tag surfer, driving new traffic as other people interested in the same topics as you will find your post and leave comments on your blog”.

I found myself frequently click on those “related posts” to see what other people are saying about a similar topic. At the same time, some of the visits to my own posts are driven by the links of my posts on other people’s pages. It’s like a simplified version of recommendation system. I found it to be very helpful in terms of getting me bloggers on WordPress who share similar interests with me. I would then subscribe some of their blogs, which motivated me to participate in this WordPress blogging community.

Two weeks ago, I translated an English commentary article featuring “social media” to Chinese. Surprisingly, several Chinese social media blogs on WordPress and some other sites linked my translated article to their pages. WP notified me by telling me there are several incoming links to my recent posts. Another interesting feature provided by WP is called “Pingback”, which means I will also be notified when people comment on the my posts which are cited by other sites. It opens a public chat channel, so that I can see a shared conversation generated around my posts no matter where it has been posted. Another good way to search and to be related to similar interests friends, sites and communities.

I always find one effective way to be related or connected to certain community is to building some close/strong ties with a small group of people in this community. One can hardly maintain close connections with the whole community or a large group of people (in some way similar to the tragedy of the commons). I used to be a member of Cornell Chorus. To convince myself to go to rehearsals on snowy winter nights, I found the reason “I would like to meet up and spend time with my friends A, B and C from the Chorus” always more effective than “I want to be part of the chorus to rehearse our repertoire well”. Once a few close ties have been built in a small group, I find it more obligated as opposed to just being part of a large group, in which I am not particularly responsible for certain aspects.

Stickiness 4:  Emerging Various Social Media Platform

Several books on social media that I’ve read recently, including Clay Shirky’s “Here comes everybody” (nice to listen to his keynote in CSCW, though it was not super CSCW relevant, I’d say) and Tamar Weinberg’s “The new community rules”, all point to a same idea: building an open platform with as many connections to other social media space as possible will more effectively drive traffic to your sites (increase the stickiness) compared to the strategy of traditional web portals (Yahoo, AOL, etc.) which want to keep users on their sites as long as possible so as to generate ad revenues as much as possible.

WordPress provides widgets that you could link your Flicker, Twitter, del.icio.us accounts and various subscribed RSS feeds to your page. Sometimes for me, to open my own WordPress page is not simply for the purpose of writing a blog. The connections to my other social media accounts make it become a personalized social media platform for me to conveniently check my feeds, favorite blogs’ updates, recent tweets, etc.

I think this is also what most social media platform wanted to accomplish (FB, Google Buzz, Friendser, etc.). They want to aggregate and merge social media resources as much as possible so as to let users use them as a primary portal for information creating and sharing. It is good in a way that they reduced users’ effort in jumping back and forth between several different places searching for sometimes similar information. However, it may be harmful to the development of communities that have particular interests to certain issues. The information can be overloaded on those platforms while without any focus.

The Design of Everyday Things

Finally get a chance to read this legendary book by Donald A. Norman before my INFO6400 class. Dan says that’s a “prerequisite”.

Figured it might be interesting to record down interesting quotes from the book since it’s sort of the bible of HCI.

“It’s very hard to remove features of a newly designed product that had existed in an earlier version. It’s kind of like physical evolution. If a feature is in the genome, and if that feature is not associated with any negativity(i.e.: no customers gripe about it), then the feature hangs on for generations.”

从新产品中去掉一个老产品中业已存在功能是非常困难的一件事情。这就好像是物理演化。当一个功能已经存在在我们的基因中,只要它不被太多的顾客所抱怨,那么它就将一直存在下去。

“Suppose the fault really lies in the device, so that lots of people have the same problems. Because everyone perceives the fault to be his or her own, nobody wants to admit to having trouble. This creates a conspiracy of silence, maintaining the feelings of guilt and helplessness among users.”

当设计错误切实存在时,那么很多人都会有相同的问题。因为每个人都觉得这是他们自己的问题,没有人愿意承认使用上的障碍,结果便是导致了一个”conspiracy of silence”(沉默的阴谋), 使得负罪感和无助感在用户群体中无法释放。

Visible the invisibles

Print the cooking information for foods on the food package in computer-readable form.
This is a scheme for bypassing the need to make things visible. The cooking of frozen foods often requires several different cooking times, waiting times, and heat settings. The programming is complex. If the cooking information were on the package in machine-readable form, one could put the food in the microwave oven, pass a scanner over the printed information, and let the oven program itself.

让看不见的变成看得见的

让计算机识别食物的烹饪说明:这一个新的想法可能已经超越了“让看不见的变成看得见的”这一个题目。对于冷冻那个食品的烹饪通常需要好几个不同的烹饪过程(热度,时间,火力等)。这个(对食物进行)”编码“的过程是复杂的。如果食物包装上的烹饪时间是计算机可读的,那么你只需要将食物包装放到微波炉或者烤箱旁扫描一下,就可以让它们自动设定烹饪程序。

(Norman让他的学生imagine一些设计想法,从而make invisible visible,这是其中之一,也是唯一一个到现在还没有实现的。又让我想到QR code或者只是普通的bar code,应该很容易做到吧,主要是降低读码器的成本,那么就可以大批运用了,对于像我这种短期记忆力少于五秒钟,还常常搞错华氏和摄氏转换的人,这个应该会很有用)

But in the world of sales, if a company were to make the perfect product, any other company would have to change it – which would make it worse – in order to promote its own innovation, to show that it was different. How can natural design work under these circumstances? It can’t.

但在商业社会中,如果一个公司生产出完美的产品,那么其他所有的公司都会希望改变它 – 甚至在以该产品变得更差为代价 – 为了宣传推广他们自己的创意,显示出不同。设计是不可能在这样的环境下得到合理进步的。

(个性比功能性更重要?)

A new approach to China

A new approach to China
1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM
Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.

We have already used information gained from this attack to make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords online. You can read more here about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more about these kinds of attacks can read this U.S. government report (PDF), Nart Villeneuve’s blog and this presentation on the GhostNet spying incident.

We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China’s economic reform programs and its citizens’ entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer

Fun facts from Psych 6420

1. 大脑有一个特殊的section是用于人脸识别,和对其他普通object的识别不一样,通常我们先觉得判定眼前这个东东是不是人脸,然后觉察出这个大头是不是看起来眼熟,然后从大脑中retrive相应的信息,最后叫出来的才是人名…

2.一个叫Guarniero的狂人发明了一个叫TVSS (Tactile Vision Substitution System)的机器,可以把现实生活中的图像转换为某种能被皮肤感应的stimuli,接到他的背部,通过训练,他可以通过stimuli的不同而“感受”到生活中的景物和视觉环境,yeah,  and of course, 该狂人是个盲人…

3. 7是个神奇的数字,人们通常可以一次性记住7个颜色,七个形状,7个数字,etc. 正负误差2,也就是不同的人的variation range是5-9个。当有两种辨别stimuli, 比如说不同的数字用不同的颜色标出时,人们的记忆力翻一个0.5倍,也就是说有7×7×(1/2)的数字可以被记住,即24个左右。(貌似以前还看过 洗牌洗7次,洗得最散一说)

4. Auto-kinetic effect: 当你在一个黑暗的房间,看到一个闪亮的固定不动光点,90%以上的人都会认为这个点在移动。

5. 四个月的婴儿就能分辨真人和机器人。

6. 当然最牛的,也是我最喜欢的还是下面这个,关于蒙娜丽萨微笑的解释:

Monalisa

哈佛有一搞生物视觉的老太太叫玛格丽特,她毕生都在研究为什么蒙娜丽莎的微笑看起来那么神秘。她给出的答案是,因为人视觉是存在主视区域(Central Viewing Area)和辅视区域(Peripheral Viewing Area,即余光)的,这两个区域的生理机能和视觉特点都不一样,当你在关注画面其他部分(比如远处的山水,蒙娜丽莎的衣着),你是在用余光扫视蒙娜丽莎的脸部,余光部分的分辨率(resolution)较低,在视网膜上投射出来蒙娜丽莎的笑容通过电脑模拟(其实就是降低图像分辨率)是下图左边的效果,嘴角上扬的角度比较大。

当余光察觉到蒙娜丽莎在笑时,一般人都会把目光转到她的脸上,于是余光扫视变成了直视,此时视觉区域的分辨率 你是在用主视区域看她的脸,此时人眼的分辨率突然变高,画面逐渐变成上图中间,甚至右侧的效果,此时嘴角上扬的角度明显变小,蒙娜丽莎同学不过是在抿嘴角而已,并没有在“笑”…  大概这就是为什么当人们感觉到她的笑容时,转而仔细观察,笑容又消失的缘由。

will Google Goggles work in snow scenes?

[don’t know if friends in China would be able to get access the following two youtube videos or not, but anyway… ]

Got the idea of augmented reality from the perception class I’ve taken this semester in psychology department. David Field (超帅的教授… 不能忍了), the professor of the class, introduced some really interesting Virtual Reality ideas from cognitive science perspective. One of the examples he showed in class was an iphone app: by using the camera function in iphone, u would be able to give tags based on the real objects in natural scenes, including giving people more local directions (as opposed to Google Map’s street view, cause the street view won’t be automatically adjusted based on what’s shown in your phone’s camera), give information on specific restaurants or museums.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAzU8oAKBxk&feature=related]

And, here we’ve got Google Goggle, the app for Android was officially released yesterday. Someone in my review session mentioned one friend has actually downloaded and used it on his android phone, and it did search the information based on the photo of a book they took.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhgfz0zPmH4]

Another thing is… we’ve got really big snow last night and this morning. So would Goggle or things like iphone’s augmented VR be able to recognize my apartment even if it’s covered by snow? At least in Ithaca, they need to have that function, haha~

Chen and I made a really creepy snowman LOL!

[zz] 使用 WP-Postviews 统计日志浏览次数

发现WP很多功能很不错… 转载一篇在九点科技上看到的关于 统计日志浏览次数 的文章.

WP-Postviews 是我一直推荐的插件之一,它可以在统计每篇日志被浏览的次数,通过对每篇日志的统计,这样我就可以知道哪些日志受读者欢迎,并且可以实现博客日志流量 Top 10 等功能,非常方便和强大。并且最新版的 Postviews 还支持缓存,在你的博客使用 WP Super Cache 等缓存插件缓存之后,它照样还可以进行统计。

WP-Postviews 安装非常简单,只要上传和激活即可。然后到 WP 后台 > 设置 > Postviews 配置输出:

1. 首先它可以让你设置统计那些用户的浏览,everyone 是统计所有人,guest 是普通用户,registered user only 只统计注册用户 。
2. Postviews 可以让你选择是否统计蜘蛛爬虫的浏览。
3. 设置显示的模板
4. 它还可以让你显示浏览次数最多的日志列表的模板
5. 另外它还能详细设置哪些页面可以显示日志的浏览此数和显示给谁,我觉得这个貌似有点多余了。
6. 当你卸载 Postviews 的时候,它还可以让你把写入到 options 的选项删除了。

要让你的博客在页面上显示浏览次数,你需要修改你博客当前使用的主题,在主循环中插入以下代码:

你可能需要修改 index.php, archive.php, single.php, post.php 或者 page.php 等。

显示最受欢迎的日志的代码是:

某个分类和某个 tag 下的最后欢迎日志分别是:get_most_viewed_category() 和 get_most_viewed_tag()。

原文地址:
http://fairyfish.net/2009/11/16/wp-postviews/