A Glance at Existing Experiences
This section introduces influential samples and contributions to the subject of online content creation in social media. Additionally, it shows examples that provide existing patterns of interaction, these patterns are fundamental components of a user experience that solve a specific problem in a context (Crumlish and Malone 10).
Social Design for interactive digital media has existed since the early eighties. The most influential case is The Well, an asynchronous online community created by Howard Rheingold in 1984 (Watts 69). As its creator points out one of the most important benefits of Internet has been to make information more accessible for more people. Internet made possible for anyone with a computer connected to the network to broadcast not only opinions but all source of media, this also gave people the opportunity to “organize forms of collective action” (The League of Noble Peers).
Later, the idea of community transitioned to social media as we know it today, “or Social Web, or social networking, or (now) the experiences epitomized by Facebook and Twitter” (Crumlish 9).
These experiences have also opened the path for people to create specific online sites with social endeavor. A kind of sites that aim to solve common problems instead of personal driven motivations. CityGram is a networking tool for improving communication between governments and citizens, “by creating a notification system that allows users to receive information from the government by selecting a geographic area, category and delivery method for the notifications” (Code for America).
This example is a web application that gets a city’s open data and transforms it into human speak according to a model defined by the user. People can “subscribe” to their city and receive notifications about the topics they’re interested. This example shows social patterns incorporated to the interaction with a system, and involves networking ideas for community’s improvement (Code for America).
Waze, a company acquired by Google in 2013, is a crowdsourced solution to traffic and routes, it started as a service with inconsistencies and inaccurate routes, however the increasing number of users and the information they provided made it an enhanced solution for calculating routes. The interface and the visual cues provide a friendly approach to traffic problems, for example “the app uses a color code on routes to indicate current traffic conditions, including green for no delays, orange for a moderate amount of traffic and deepening shades of red as road congestion becomes worse and progress slows to a crawl.” This makes the experience more enjoyable and trustworthy, appealing to mental models average users may have previously acquired (Biersdorfer).
Along with live tracking of location based content, Waze used the method of a browser based “road editor” where logged-in users could manually edit the roads and labels of their cities. Somewhat similar happens with Moovit, a mobile application that aims to be for PT users what Waze is for divers (Bryant).
Moovit also provides an editor to manually feed the system with information like stops, schedules, companies. Then the application uses this information to recommend routes and traveling times.
Its interface and all the visual elements look fresh and with a youthful style, it seems like the designers aim to a younger audience, having in mind that many PT users whether haven’t acquired a personal vehicle or prefer to use other types of transportation like PT or Taxi/Uber.