USER TASKS


User 1: Undergraduate Male and Fraternity Member

The first user, a roommate of one of the authors of this paper, is a member of a campus-recognized Fraternity and manages the logistics of various events sponsored by his Fraternity around the year. We met this individual over the weekend where he recounted a couple of stories on recent events that his Fraternity had organized during the past and current semester. These events include fraternity rush activities, social gatherings, fraternity volunteer functions and events in collaboration with other fraternity and sorority organizations in additions to the broader set of campus extracurricular organizations.

One recent event he hosted was a charity event co-sponsored with a sorority on campus that was aimed at meeting service requirements imposed by their respective national organizations. The event was planned jointly by both Greek organization over the course of 2 weeks, where a location, time and date were settled on and where logistics and permissions were sought and arranged for. An individual from each Greek organization was selected to promote the event, and both met over the course of 2 days and printed 30 flyers in addition to sending out 61 emails to a joint email distribution list which consisted of the emails on each respective organizations distribution list. Finally our user created a Facebook event and had his sorority counterpart join him in sending invites to people who were listed as belonging to each Greek organization as well as to friends of each individual. About 20 people confirmed that they would attend the event with an additional 9 indicating that they might attend. The event occurred last Wednesday, where 13 people (not affiliated with the Sorority or Fraternity) attended.

Generally speaking the user outlined that the planning process for most events begins with a decision on a location and time for an event. The user generally decides on these details during fraternity meetings. Once the setting details are defined, the Fraternity member then begins to invite people through four general mediums. First, and perhaps most importantly, through Facebook, the user is able to create an event on the Fraternity’s Facebook page and invite people who are friends of the user, the Fraternity or other members of the Fraternity. Recipients of these invites will generally receive an email notifying them of the event and the option to indicate whether they will attend the event or not. Following this the user sends emails of the event details directly to those individuals on an email distribution list maintained by the Fraternity. Lastly, the user sends phone texts to close friends. He insists that the major constraint is time to plan and promote an event as well as the reach of currently available avenues of event promotion.



User 2: Undergraduate Male and Vice President of a large student organization in the R.H. Smith Business School


This individual was able to describe to us one recent event that his organization hosted, which was a career exploration seminar series that included talks given by recent alumni and other working representatives of major corporations that typically recruit at Maryland. The promotion for this event began with an Organization executive board meeting where the location, time and date details of the event were selected. The event was scheduled to be a multi-day event where speaking engagements were spread across three days with short receptions following each one. The event was first publicized on the daily business school email listservs and through the organizations own listserv. The user then went about uploading the details of the event to several websites and calendars maintained through the campus and the various academic departments within the Business School and the college of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The user then created a Facebook event, sent out invites to the Organization’s followers and to his own friends. The organization planned to send reminder emails 14 days, 7 days, 3 days, 2 days and 1 day before the event. The user noted that it was very difficult to pin down dates and times for the invited professionals because of their hectic and often times conflicting schedules. As a result the event was actually rescheduled, which caused major problems for the organization as several different sources of information had to be updated. Additionally, because a short reception with light refreshments was scheduled after each speaking engagement, there was a need to estimate how many people would attend the event so that the proper amount of drinks could be ordered and arranged. This was a planning constraint because there was no way to determine the potential attendance of an event aside from a historically unreliable Facebook event attendance confirmation indicator. The event occurred two weeks ago, were about 120 people attended over three nights. The Facebook event attendance confirmation noted only 45 people confirmed as “attending” and an additional 33 as “maybe attending”. Although there were more people than expected, the board was adequately prepared and had ordered enough drinks.

This Vice President relates that among the most challenging aspects of hosting a large campus event is receiving feedback from the attendees regarding their event. This client would appreciate some sort of a feature where attendees can post comments or perhaps take a survey on their experience. This Vice President uses several tools including MailChimp to disseminate information about an event to his target audience, many of which he is pleased with. He notes that although he likes the idea of a new calendar and map focused event promotion site, he emphasizes that information about events should be freely available to all. He believes that requiring users to register in order to view events, even if free, would remove the desirability of any web resource for event publication.


User 3: Undergraduate Male and active member of University community


One user is an undergraduate male who is also a very active member of the University community, frequently attending social and campus-sponsored events and seminars. The user often monitors several mail listservs and the University’s daily event calendar listing to keep abreast of events that he may potentially be interested in attending. He typically wakes up in the morning, scans the various listservs and the University website, and adds events he seems interested in to his Microsoft Outlook calendar. Occasionally, he must look up the location of the building and enter some reminders in the location field in the Outlook new appointment editor. He says that during his freshman year he had a hard time attending events he was interested in because he would have to constantly look up the location of the various buildings on campus. For example, he cites one incident in his freshman year where a discussion on protein network mapping was to be given by a well-renowned visiting professor in the CHE building. He didn’t know that the abbreviation CHE was actually referencing the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering building and not the Chemical building. This caused him to be late to the talk.


He also says that he often has time in between classes, where he would like to stay in the same general vicinity, but wouldn’t mind attending events occurring in close proximity.

TASK ANALYSIS

After examining and analyzing the profile and needs of our target user we have defined a set of necessary system requirements. We have developed these system requirements in a task-driven manner, focusing on what the user would need in order to successfully and effective complete a task—which for our service would be publicizing events and gatherings for the campus community.


Our first target user is a student or faculty member of the University of Maryland, interested in hosting events or social gatherings and focused on publicizing these events within the University community. This type of user is typically an officer of some campus social, academic, athletic, cultural or support organization and is interested in publicizing and getting information out about an event his or her organization is hosting. Additionally, this user, and the organization they represent often struggles with determining how many people are likely to show up or whether they need to further publicize an event.


Our second target user is a student or faculty member of the University community, who would like to be aware of daily campus events and is interested not only in finding these events but also in finding out the relative excitement and anticipation for an event. Oftentimes, this user can find his or herself with some extra time and wouldn’t mind seeing a visual representation of events going on in the immediate vicinity.


Our first target user, the event host, is interested in raising awareness about a particular event, publicizing that event to the University community and ensuring that the all attendees are equipped with information about that event. This target user wants:

1) An easy to use user interface that can prominently and clearly display their event on a calendar and a map.
2) An intuitive and simple registration system that allows for authentication and customization but that is not too intrusive.
3) A streamlined, flexible event registration process that allows a host to upload event information and media. This process should allow for revisions and changes.
4) A system that allows the user to track events they are hosting and to see, in real-time, the level of relative buzz their event has generated.

Our second target user, the event attendee, is interested in finding out about campus activities and events and sorting these activities by location, anticipation, time or type. This target user wants:

5) An easy to use Map that organizes events by location, updated in real-time and focused on the University campus.
6) An easy to use Calendar that organizes events by date and time, updated in real-time.
7) A system that allows the user to “buzz” an event with the intent of expressing that user’s excitement and anticipation for an event or to indicate that the user will be attending.
8) A simple registration system that allows the user to be authenticated in order to “buzz” events or contact the host of an event, while at the same time preserving the anonymity of that user.
9) A clear organization and tagging system that allows events to be sorted by type, focus or host.
A complete job – Posting an event


Task Prioritization
Requirements 1-3 and 5-8 must be absolutely included. Requirement 4 could be included. Requirement 9 should be included.





ANNOTATED REFERENCES
(not included in word count)


Pousman, Z. , Iachello, G. , Fithian, R. , Moghazy, J. and Stasko, J. (2004). Design iterations for a location-aware event planner. Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. Volume 8, Number 2, Pages 117-125

We used this paper to understand more fully the breadth and scope of design issues and requirements for event planners that utilized location as a key characteristic. This informed our judgement that a clean, simple, task-driven map was desirable.





Nakhimovsky, Y. , Miller, A. , Dimopoulous, T., Siliski, M. (2010). Behind the scenes of Google Maps navigation: enabling actionable user feedback at scale. Working Abstract, Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Although the paper was an Abstract and although the user feedback it referenced was a bit difference, we gained deep insight into how we can incorporate a buzz-focused feedback system within a framework that will utilize Google Maps.


http://www.meetup.com/

This is an online tool that we examined heavily, both as means to encourage differentiation but also to figure out what we can use when we make our UMD campus specific service.

http://rideoregonride.com/

This is an online community that has implemented the calendar and map specifications we hope to implement. While they focus on posting events and meetups for rides and information on trails in Oregon, we will focus on posting events and information about UMD campus activities. There design and interface has also served as a guide when we discussed with our prospective users what they might expect in a map and calender focused web service.

http://www.freestuff.umd.edu/events.cfm / http://www.umd.edu/calendars/

This is a UMD tool that implements an event calender that we found to be somewhat effective and a guiding post in our discussions on what sort of tasks prospective users would undergo when promoting an event on currently available web resources.

http://www.iphather.com/forum/blog.php/daily-tip-how-to-map-a-calendar-event-location/

This is an explanation of how map and calender interfaces can be used to organize events on the IPhone. This was an excellent resource as we discussed with users what needs they might envision in regards to the process of posting events to a calender and map focused web service.



http://www.union.umd.edu/marketing/checklist.shtml
This is an online resource maintained by the Stamp Student Union that gives instructions to student organizations on how best to organize and publicize campus events. This was a great launching pad to discuss with prospective users how they organize and publicize their own campus events and what tools or services could make that process more efficient.

http://www.mailchimp.com/
MailChimp is an important tool that many campus organization leaders use to send mass emails to email distribution lists and promote events. We examined the user interface, tools, services and offerings of MailChimp to better understand what prospective users experience when begining email campaigns and utilizing web sources to promote their events.