This week was a very exciting week because we got to go the DiscoTech on Sunday! The event was a great opportunity meeting other groups and individuals interested in spreading the cooperative movement. The discussion and workshop based structure of the event was a enjoyable way to learn more about other organizations and topics about cooperatives. I
Micky, Declan, and Lucia were able to attend the DiscoTech and set up a workshop for user testing both our team’s prototype as well as Josh’s prototype of Loconomics. Our process included prompting the users with certain tasks to perform for each prototype (for example: we asked them to sign up as a housecleaning freelancer named Kimmy Schmidt) and asking them to fill out a post-test feedback form. The subjects were encouraged to speak their thoughts during the user testing, which we found very informative about their user experiences. The feedback form gather information about their background (if they were involved as a freelancer or a cooperative member) and their general thoughts on the two prototypes. Despite the slow wifi and glitches at times, the users were able to go through the process successfully and inform us about how we can improve the platform in the future.
Although there were many comments about various aspects of the prototypes, here are a few examples of our notes:
For prototype 1 (our team’s)
Not realizing that you had to switch the tab to “freelancer” instead of “client” in the sign-up pop up in order to sign up as a freelancer
After signing up, the website should guide you to share with others through social media, etc.
Not being able to double-click and do things without leaving the page, such as double-clicking messages to respond or double-clicking calendar dates to add appointments
For prototype 2 (Loconomics)
Being forced to add details, such as schedules, before being able to become familiarized with website (what if user wants to see if he/she wants to use the website in the first place?)
After setting up profile and account, the website should direct the user to find clients instead of going back to the front page (many were confused about the front page)
The overall process should be structured more in a step-by-step guide where each page clearly tells the user what to do next
Now that we have user-tested, the next steps until the end of the class include relaying the user feedback back to Josh, deciding which features could potentially change in future iterations of the prototype, and perhaps even proposing these changes to Josh if we decide we have enough evidence that the changes will significantly enhance the user experience of Loconomics. In improving a model like Loconomics, we hope to expand the model to cooperatives instead of freelancers, which Kai has already been working on in our own prototype.
Link to case study: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YbI31Sj70cX5iEDb9rd6NsqZWkohF6AFD29jsat2y8E/edit#heading=h.e8ejm1rdy84a
Now that our team has a testable prototype that allows freelancers to sign up, create a profile, communicate to clients, and organize their schedules/appointments/clients, we decided to conduct user testing this week. Micky and Lucia were able to contact 2-3 users to test our prototype as well as the Loconomics prototype and describe their user experiences. For both prototypes, they were specifically prompted to sign up as a freelancer and explore the features of the websites.
The user testings provided a lot of useful information for both prototypes and the users had much feedback about what they liked, disliked, or thought about the websites. For our team’s prototype, users pointed out specific points of the website that were confusing. This included definitions of key terms such as “booking” versus “appointment,” understanding the function of the inbox and clients tabs, and knowing what some of the fields were asking for when creating a profile. For the Loconomics prototype, the most notable observation was that users felt very overwhelmed by all the features and buttons it had. As one of the testers said, “There is a steep learning curve.” It took a while for users to navigate through everything on the site and become familiar with all the features. Despite some confusions, all the users were able to set up profiles and learn how to use functions of the websites. The comments can serve both Josh in improving the Loconomics platform and our team in constructing our prototype.
In addition to user testing, Kai constructed a version of our prototype that serves co-ops instead of freelancers. It allows co-ops to sign up and create a profile for their organization, which has some added fields and uses different language in some areas to accommodate for the change in target users. The website also has an added feature for clients to be able to choose which member of the co-op they want when booking a service.
Moving forward, we wish to modify our prototype using the feedback we got and gather more information from user testing. We could also start thinking about what we will be presenting to Josh about the feedback of this prototype.
Since our presentation from last class and receiving feedback about our progress, we have decided to move in the direction of building a working prototype of a website for Co-Everything. In agreement with some of the feedback comments from last time, studies various existing platforms, including Loconomics, TaskRabbit, and even non-coop related companies such as Airbnb, in order to develop the structure of our website. Our analyses allowed us to compare pros and cons of the various platforms and to see which one would suit our prototype’s needs to best. (We made many hypotheses about what would work best, so this is where testing would help us decide what really works best.) For example, the platforms had different ways of implementing a messaging system, and we tested which one we liked more and which one we thought would be most appropriate for Co-Everything. There were also many of the same features across all platforms, which we decided to keep the same for Co-Everything as well, thinking with a “if it works, don’t fix it” mindset. Because most of our users so far are co-op members, we decided to concentrate on building the coop-side portion of our prototype for this week and identified communication towards clients as the key feature to focus on first. Below our some photos of website page layouts for some of the features we thought about.
The website (http://5pxper.axshare.com/home.html) that allows users to sign up as a co-op organization and set up a co-op account that provides a public profile towards clients and a messaging system with clients. The prototype can be used by co-ops to test out usability and efficiency of joining Co-Everything and getting in contact with new clients, which is something to aim for for our next step.
Right now, you can access the home page using the URL. From there you can press “Sign Up” and then the “Co-op” tab. The pop-up will lead you to creating your co-op profile page. After that, you can view your profile and also click on the “Inbox” tab in which you can see messages with clients.
In addition to this week’s progress, team responsibilities have become more defined as we are becoming more clear about specific project requirements for Co-Everything. Allan expressed interest in conducting interviews each week with users, which will help with acquiring feedback and gaining key learnings on our user audiences. Kai and Lucia are more interested in prototyping the actual product of Co-Everything, since it involves more of the UI/UX design aspects of the project. This week, Lucia took on the task of paper-prototyping while Kai implemented it into a clickable prototype using Axure RP. In the future, Travis, Declan, and Samer are planning on working with existing platforms more in order to bring in more data and information about what Co-Everything eventually develop into. This is a current rough outline of team roles that we plan on defining more in the following week.
Overall, our team has made a lot of progress in terms of the actual prototype and team roles. Moving on, we hope to gain more feedback about Co-Everything and use the feedback to iterate and build upon our working prototype. Until next time!
This past week, our team’s goal was to gather as much preliminary information as possible for our project through the method of interviews. First, we made a spreadsheet of potential interviewees, which included the names of the local co-ops/freelancers that we could connect with and their contact information. We found many co-ops available online but the ones with the most potential were organizations and people who we knew personally and could connect to more easily.
We also made a list of questions that we could ask them to serve as guidelines for the interview process. The questions mainly revolved around the co-ops/freelancers themselves in their occupations and the relationships between 1. them and other co-ops/freelancers and 2. them and their clients. We then proceeded to contact potential interviewees and schedule interviews throughout the following days.
Here is a list of interviewers we were able to conduct:
A Yard and a Half
Broadway Bike School
Chamber of Cooperation
Monica Starr Feldman
From our interviews, some common themes were:
Primary source of networking/referrals is by word of mouth
Always looking for more networking/advertising opportunities and more stable workflow
Interest in local network, but nobody likes meetings/conferences
Fear in competition of other co-ops/freelancers
Social media (Yelp, Facebook, mailing lists) is important for outreach
We hope to learn and utilize this information while moving on with our project. Until next time!
Hello! I’m Lucia.
I’m a sophomore at MIT majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Industrial/Product Design. Before coming to the Boston area, I lived in a small suburb in New Jersey where a grew up with my parents, brother, and dog.
I love design, whether it’s making things look pretty, fabricating physical products, or coming up with innovative solutions to human challenges. My interest for visual arts in high school, which involved painting, drawing, and building 3D art, evolved into many of the activities I’m interested in now. This includes being involved in product design projects in my classes, creating graphic design assets for my student groups, and working on casing design for HCI technology in my student job. Since attending MIT, I have also gained experience with user interaction design, front-end web development, and programming. I’m currently searching for a summer internship that’s a mix of industrial/product design, CAD, and addressing design solutions in a collaborative team environment, in order to continue my interests as a designer.
Besides lectures and design projects, I spend my time on extracurriculars, such as being on the HackMIT organizing committee and dancing in MIT Asian Dance Team, or hanging out with friends.
I’m a do-er and a go-getter, but I also value having fun and being happy. I love to work hard, laugh, and follow my passions.
Thanks for reading!