Here is a 2min video that showcases some of my thesis project. (redesign of wikipedia). This is a composite video, so most of it is fake, but it was a good way to show what a user might go through when using it, and how I feel I was able to engage users more, and get them to contribute and a micro level.
The video currently does not have audio. It really needs it, and it will soon have it. I just need to record it.
I went out to california for an interview for a job that I sadly didn’t get. But I’m back now, and I will be done with school in 6 days. Im still trying to figure out what it is I want to do, and trying to make a plan for the next 2.5 years.
But something I made for my thesis presentation I wanted to share. Wikipedia houses over 2.7 million articles. That’s a lot we all know. But even with many of the articles being smaller than something found in Britannica, it still amounts to a ton. How much? Taking into consideration the word count in the 32 volume Britannica, wikipedia would be…
Awhile back I was talking about how, everything on Wikipedia being built and confirmed around peer-review and editing, the oldest content (having the most review) has the highest probability of being correct, and the newest content (little review) has the highest probability of being incorrect or even spam. Then a few posts ago, I used this idea to show how it could be used to the benefit of the users. But what might it look like if we took this to the extreme and color coded all the content based on its age?
I have been working on a new prototype for my thesis. I had mentioned this idea before, and have been looking at it for a bit now. I have a semi functioning prototype here (please dont judge my code, it was just really quick (and 99% of it is taken from wikipedia)). I know it works in safari and firefox, I really doubt it works in IE, but as it is only needed so that I can record people using it, it really doesn’t matter. Just figured you might want to check it out. This is really playing with showing off the idea of the living article. This isn’t the article on Mao, this is the article on Mao as of 2 hours ago, maybe even 3min ago. So how can we engage users and let them know this while at the same time get more people to contribute/ peer edit the information quicker. More peer review means better articles and less false information.
I was going to go into jobs and how much I am loving Espresso, but I have to get more work done. I will at some point talk about these things, and maybe some day talk about what ever happened to my multi-touch table… Maybe
One of the issues I have had with my MediaWiki (wikipedia software) redesign has been my lack of redesigning anything but the obvious. That changed recently when I started thinking about what collaboration even means. Why this model? How might it work if we could do anything?
Among many other areas, I started looking deeply into the history of an article. So after 3 or so pages of hand drawn pages, and endless arrows and notes, I felt I was ready to move onto illustrator. What I came up with so far has is a completely new way to visualize and deal with the pages history. This new system would allow a user to quickly see the size of the changes, and pinpoint when the article was reverted (in pink). Clicking on a change would show the article below in the same window. Currently you need to go back and forth between pages if you want to view multiple points of the pages history. You can also see a comparison between historic-pages, though currently not very user friendly. In this version you can easily select two points to see the differences. This doesn’t change much about how the system works, but I think I makes the way of looking/using at history much more elegant. One feature I think may be useful, is the ability to highlight changes made only certain users, or only changes made to certain sections. Perhaps search the notes and show/highlight history nodes containing that information (for molly).
An other area I have been looking at is… Imagine this scenario: You are viewing a page on Wikipedia, but 10sec before you loaded that pages, someone inserted false information. Normally content on wikipedia is somewhere above 90% accurate. But this comes from the mass amount of people being to oversee the article. This also means that older content has the highest probability for being correct, and newer the lowest. In this scenario, this 10sec old content is wrong, but there is no way of knowing it. The user could check the history, but this, in my mind, is too much to ass of the user. So… What if the reader could know that that content is very new and has that higher risk? What I am looking at is a way to color code data(can be toggled on/off) so that users can see what information has a high risk, and also what has been highly reviewed. Perhaps a yellow background on content that has not had the possibility for that that pier review? Maybe a light blue for information you can trust?
As you may know, I am redesigning mediawiki (software behind wikipedia) for my thesis to be more user friendly. One of the first things I started to look at was how categories where entered, edited, and used. Because categories are used on every page, I thought it was a little weird that they are entered in the main edit window, and not like tags are handled on many other sites. This issue requires a lot of work from the user because each one needs to be entered as a link with the prefix “Category:” (shown on the right). A second issue I saw was that the user had to know what the categories where named. Because they must be entered with the exact spelling and case, it usually requires that the user open a second window to search for and find the exact name of the category, copy the name and paste it in the original window.
One of my first redesigned parts was to take care of these issues. After several iterations I believe I have come up with a way of working that addresses most of these issues. But to prove its usability, I need to be able to test it with users, so I made an interactive prototype. You should go check it out. Mind you some parts of it are not the best, but it should be near good enough to test out.
Just to start things off here is an orientation sensor that I soldered some 32AWG wire onto. It broke.. I accidentally pulled off on of the chip’s pads. So I bought another one. I put epoxy around it so It wouldn’t break again. Yeah… that worked. Until I broke it again. (trying to trim the epoxy) No more. Im waiting for a breakout board for this guy till I try again.
But what would I be using this for? Besides screwing around like I like to do. Well I have been working on (mainly drawing and order parts for) a set of new projects. They are all part of a family of single interaction blocks. They are blocks of wood that output information in some analog way in response to one thing.
For instance one of them has a nice old analog meter on it that just responds to sound. One has a circle of LEDs that all follow a magnet. One that shows your distance. One that glows based on how far your hand is over it. One that glows the color of anything put on top of it. I think there will be 7-10 of them in all. But they will be beautiful blocks of finished maple wood. So anyways, one of them was going to use this chip. I guess it will have to wait.
This past week I gave my first presentation on my thesis thus far. I was scared to give it at first because I didn’t feel like I had a conclusion. But on giving it I realized I shouldn’t have a conclusion this early on, and it went quite well.
I have been doing usability research this past week, and what I have been finding is quite useful. I have been watching while the users perform a series of tasks on various sites vary similar to what then also need to do on wikipedia. I am not able to help the users, and I ask that the users think aloud so I can understand what they are doing/ looking for, or expected to find during the tasks. So far, all the users have had no, or almost no, trouble doing the tasks on the other sites. However, except for one user who was a wiki admin, the users have been unable to do such tasks such as adding an image and a link to a wiki page.
Bilder now has a homepage, with a logo! It is hand done (marker on mylar), and it gave me a really cool idea. Im thinking that I will enable user submission of hand done logos that will cycle through on the front page. Also, my thesis has really given me a ton of ideas, that if I can pull it off, will make bildr the best wiki I have ever seen.
In the next 3 weeks I will hear back from grad school. I wont lie, im going crazy.
For my recent birthday Mary was nice enough to get me a gift certificate to sparkfun. So what else could I do… I spent it, and then some), and on new Funnel IO Arduinos,Xbee modules and Lithium-polymer batteries for them. The funnel is amazing. It has a LiPo battery charge chip on it (thorough mini USB) and Xbee socket built in.
Because the Xbees are version 2.5, I didn’t know that you couldn’t use some of the same commands on them. Also, the book I have doesn’t even mention some of the things you need to do. It only took me 12 hours to get it all working. Of course I could do it all in 20min now.
My senior show was this last week. This is the time when everyone shows off all their work from the time they entered their major in a gallery setting. The opening had hundreds of people there, so it got very crammed, but the show was great, but it’s sad it’s over now… I remember every year thinking about that day. I did however buy a suit for the occasion, I figured I will need it for interviews at some point anyways.
My senior thesis in in full swing now. I am redesigning mediawiki from the ground up in the fashion described in Alan Coopers book “The Inmates are Running the Asylum”. I have started deconstruction every part of the software, and already I can tell you it is in dire need of some interaction design. I’ll keep this updated as I work on it.