This is a summary for the hackaton where we got a team together to work on designing a multisharing platform for Gothenburg (obviously open-source/free software, so in theory not restricted to Gbg). It was quite fun with a lot of discussion, brainstorming and sketching. We even started doing mockups, which I hope we will finish. Here are the main points, summarized (and that’s just my perspective and own account), that the group worked on:
1. Exploring existing platforms and evaluating them:
- We did not follow through a method for testing and evaluating, but I noticed that many of us used these as a reference for how it could or could not work, e.g. boring UI of bortskankes.se or nice layout for Freeshop, and the rules created by users themselves on Facebook groups to facilitate sharing in a platform that was not designed for it
2. UX. We spent a lot of time discussing the different kind of users, their needs and motivations and what would made the platform attractive. I realized there was much guessing based on subjective experiences, which is valuable in itself, but a sign that more user research is needed. Two major user-roles were explored (giving and receiving) and their motivations/expectations
Gifting takes on many forms: an act of appreciation and social connection between people who either know each other or have something in common (social motivation); an act of helping someone else (solidarity motivation); an act of getting rid of something and not wanting to produce waste (environmental motivation) or to get someone to pick up something heavy for you (selfish motivation).
Likewise the receiver is also driven very similar motivations, often mixed: getting something for free (selfish), asking for help (solidarity), not buying new stuff (environmental), and having some kind of affinity with someone (social).
A major point was about ensuring users will have a nice experience of giving/gifting, which is related to matching with the right people. Bad cases from the receiver side is when they do not show up to get what was offered or when people manifest a consumerist behavior by showing interest in a whole lot of items.
The discussion about these profiles and problems identified in current experiences with existing platforms led us to come up with different ideas ->
4. Features: a number of features was proposed based on the above. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:
- Display of available shared items based on a location (map), latest items, filtered by category or filtered by groups/communities.
- A list of ranked needs, to better inform the giver’s decision of whom among many interested people to give something to.
- Some ideas to solve the trust//behavior issue: a rating or reputation system (eg. stars), reviews after completing a interaction of giving/receiving, references, social connections (befriending), users being able to create closed/open groups for sharing.
- To coordinate a pickup, defining sharing spots on a map, user’s location and a time availability (flexible or not)
There was no definition at the end which would be the core features to be developed first (for example is a rating/reputation system more important than community features like chats/threads and groups?)
5. Visualization, when we started sketching and prototyping. The whole group split in two smaller groups and each worked on their own visualization.
One group based the visualization on a flowchart or user journey, trying to mimic the most convenient way for a user to engage in giving or receiving something.
The other group (where I was) did the first sketch of a mockup focused on the community and group features.
Unfortunately there was no time left for the day, but Agnese and I will continue working on the mockup and keep this project moving forward, as we see there’s a real interest in developing this platform! Will you join us?
If you have pictures of our sketches and of the day, please upload them here!