Crowdsourcing Project – Team 2 / Phase 2

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The Mozilla Labs Crowdsource Crowdsourcing project finished its second phase about a week ago – in this second phase the teams worked on suggestions for the “ideal” crowdsourcing platform, based on the research they did for phase 1.

In this blog post the participants from team 2 describe their ideal platform and thoughts which went into this:

Introduction

Having analyzed current practices in crowdsourcing across dozens of sites, our team summarized what we concluded were the best practices for a successful crowdsourcing site. You can view the full summary here, but to summarize the summary, our list includes:

  • Low barrier to entry for participation
  • Business Incentive: competition
  • User Incentive: intrinsic motivation
  • Give people the ability to shine
  • Community
  • Some aspect of fun

From there we decided to narrow our brainstorming and focus on three features that would help make this product embody some of these best practices and create a delightful user experience. At the same time, we ideated on what the eventual end product would look like that has these three features and what Mozilla could be doing to create a crowdsourcing platform for their design challenges and how that might become a open-sourced crowdsourcing tool.

Here are the three features we think would be good to include in the crowdsourcing end product.

Low Barrier to Entry

How can we make it easy, engaging, and welcoming to join crowd-sourcing challenges? We need to minimize the hustle of signing into the project.

Today many website offer a sign in through your Facebook/Twitter account as that saves you the trouble of filling in your personal details (name, email, etc) while also providing a secure login. We predict this method for registration will be the new standard.

Another benefit from using Facebook as your “signing in passport” is that the new member is “bringing with him all of his friends to the crowdsourcing website” which means it lets you invite your friends from Facebook to engage and follow the members activities by rating or commenting on your work via Facebook invitations/alerts.

By giving access through an almost universal social network, the user gains ease of use, security, and access to his social network for related social features.

Characterization

Also a very important aspect of “signing in” to a crowdsourcing website is to identify the new member and his fields of interests. This allows the site to better provide relevant content to the user, such as information on challenges that are in his “world of content”. From phase 1 we came up with important features and functions a successful crowdsourcing service needs. Users interests and expertise must be captured and linked in a convenient way. We thought on developing a characterization system which will be a mash-up of existing crowdsourcing sites. Fun and engaging questions will identify the users areas of expertise and interests, much like how Hunch creates a characterization of the user through surveys.

This will allow to attract new users in a fun way to characterize them. Knowing the users better leads to better catering/advertising/information about challenges within the crowdsourcing service the user might be interested in.

A new visual challenge for submissions

In the cases where challenges/contests are determined by user voting (or at least user voting is involved), there are some aspects that could make the experience more satisfying to use. Additionally we discussed some new ideas that may make the experience more delightful.

  • as with any participation, being able to vote without having to sign up or register will increase participation significantly
  • clearly indicate how their participation mattered, that their participation was recorded, and what their information will be used for
  • in terms of presentation of submissions for those looking to rate submissions, it should be random but provide the option to sort the submissions by popularity or other variables. (maybe not linearly, but in batches – i.e. “what’s hot” or “featured”). It was mentioned that this could be done by making each entry like a node network and people build off each other by adding nodes. Larger nodes would denote more popularity. This is a great way to visualize a large number of submissions (e.g. see pearltrees.com).

In terms of graphic design, the graphics should not be complicated in order to reduce server load and load time for the user. The node network idea could be great if it didn’t have to be done in Flash or a ton of JavaScript to avoid lack of performance. HTML5 as technology could be a good start.

End Product

Thinking about the end product for the project, we envision it as a crowdsourcing platform that will serve Mozilla for their crowdsourcing needs in a different way than all the other crowdsourcing practices that are currently on the web. This new platform will be written as open source so whoever wants to use it can take the code, adjust it to his own needs, and use it to build his/her CS platform.

Being a Mozilla platform and hopefully a Mozilla product, the platform would be a community crowdsourcing practice where all the participants can improve each others work and collaborate in an open innovation atmosphere similar to the Wikipidia and Linux communities as opposed to the other kinds of crowdsourcing platforms that we identified in Phase 1 (market-place CS, crowd-funding, and CS data-mining).