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Facebook Opinion

Facebook to Allow Users to Login with Less Info

Facebook to Allow Users to Login with Less Info

According to The Boston Globe,  Facebook announced in late April that, “its 1.3 billion users would soon be able to limit the information they reveal to other websites or mobile applications when they log in through their Facebook identities.”

Facebook
Facebook (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

The idea behind this move is to address users’ concerns about revealing their personal data just to check out a website.

The enormous social networking site is also considering making it possible for users to log into other sites anonymously.  That is, the login would be anonymous to the other site, but not to Facebook. Because, of course, Facebook wants to gather (presumably) anonymous data for the purpose of aggregating it and better understanding user behavior.

One of the reasons why Facebook has grown so enormous (1.3 billion users) is because it reveals such intimate details to online businesses. Likes are routinely scanned. Birth dates are revealed. Even photos and friend lists are sometimes shared with outside businesses. The aggregation of quantitative data (we are studying this at Quinnipiac, in ICM 524,  which is the Social Media Analytics class) is vital to any number of sites understanding people’s behavior on the web.

The truth is, any person who believes that any of their clicks are not being counted, timed, compared, or otherwise measured is in for a real surprise. They are.  And this is not necessarily any sort of a bad thing, I might add. For data to be best understood, there really does need to be an awful lot of it. And what better site to bring a lot of data than the behemoth itself, Facebook?

Caveat clicker.

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Quinnipiac Social Media Class

Wireframing and Paper Prototyping

Wireframing and Paper Prototyping

What is Wireframing?

As Daniel M. Brown says in Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (2nd edition) (Page 166),

Wireframes describe the contents of a web page and their relative priorities. They help the project team envision the functionality and behavior of different screens, or more commonly, different screen templates.  Most renditions of wireframes are laid out to look like webpages. 

But it’s more than that. It’s also about understanding user behaviors. What are the use cases? What does it mean when something is colored red, or is made larger?

The Importance of Wireframing in Creating Websites

For web designers and for the eventual users of websites, a mockup is necessary in order to get an initial feel for the development to come.

Wireframing puts together designers’ and coders’ ideas of what users might want. By asking users to review and show how they would use the proposed site, designers can determine whether there are use cases they are missing. Further, they can see if the design is too difficult for the average user to understand and navigate, or if creates, rather than diminishes, user frustrations.

As Jen Gordon says in The Mobile Design Process,

Much like any design or illustration process, having iterations of your design allows you to explore a wider variety of design options to a deeper degree. 

These iterations can be made with wireframing and paper prototyping, used together. Paper prototyping is generally used for the initial idea of where certain elements go (e. g. where is the logo placed?), and for iterating several versions of the design. Wireframing then comes in, when more of the design is set and the changes are less in terms of what goes where, and are more along the lines of color, shape, size, and verbiage.

How wireframes differ from and relate to website page design

Wireframing is something of a subset of webpage design. The overall idea of design is not just the look and feel of a site, but also what’s going to be in it, and the basic idea behind it. Wireframing takes those background pieces of information and puts them into a logical order and adds or subtracts emphasis. But wireframing can’t happen until the designer knows what is supposed to go into the actual website.

The relationship between wireframes and paper prototyping

As Dr. David Travis says in 7 Myths about Paper Prototyping,

Wireframes show a skeleton view of a user interface. They identify the areas of the screen where content will appear, such as images, text and navigation. Wireframes often include call-outs and notes explaining certain elements of the design in more detail. They are a useful communication tool for design agencies who want their clients to sign off on a design without getting hung up on the colours and images displayed in the user interface.

With paper prototyping, elements can be easily moved around. Users can often relate better to paper, and the effort and skill needed to put a basic rough sketch on paper (even when the lines aren’t straight) are less than those needed for wireframing. Paper prototyping, in general, is a quick and dirty solution; it’s a thumbnail sketch, quite literally, of what the site is supposed be like. Furthermore, paper prototyping is a way to get all of the members of a team to be able to contribute equally. You don’t need to understand or have even heard of visual design software in order to sketch a few rectangles, circles, and arrows; cut out shapes; and add verbiage as needed.

What is paper prototyping?

One company that understands the virtues of paper prototyping is The Mathworks. They used paper prototyping when creating GUIDE for MATLAB 6.

Wireframing and Paper Prototyping
(early paper prototype for GUIDE for MATLAB 6. Image is provided for educational purposes only)

Mary Beth Rettger, in Task-Based Utility for Software Upgrades said,

The concept of prototyping a solution is well understood. The problem is that code is expensive to write, and all too often a “prototype” takes so long to develop that there is no time to get feedback on the idea. As a result, the prototype simply becomes the product. Paper prototyping provides an alternative that is cheaper, faster, and more effective for the purposes of ensuring the final product meets user needs. 

Ms. Rettger’s explanation is simple and practical. Why spend months on making a working prototype, when paper prototypes can be banged out in perhaps a week? That same paper can be altered, added to, or subtracted from, with ease. When following iterative website development methodologies, paper prototyping is the only way that makes any sense. As ideas are added or discarded, or morph into new ideas, the paper prototypes change. More sheets of paper are used and the design readily evolves. As a result, when it’s time to make a true working prototype, a lot more information is available to the designer.

When is each method used?

In A List Apart, Shawn Medero wrote,

“Where does paper prototyping fit into the design process? 

There are two dominant uses: 

  1. The design team uses paper for their presentation to a larger group of people who have a vested interest in the product.

  2. Users run through a set of existing paper mock-ups or are given blank paper and asked to represent a concept by sketching it.” 

Potentially, the presentation of a paper prototype is a means for the design team to initially communicate with project stakeholders, including persons at the vice presidential level or even the board. For smaller companies, the audience might even be the owners and/or founders of the company, or even the investors. With a paper prototype, a meeting can be put together quickly, as the design and mockup can be put together quickly, too.

The place for wireframing is in a subsequent meeting. The stakeholders are closer to being convinced, and have a good idea of what the site is going to look like. They have a good idea because the designer does, and a paper prototype has been used to give the designer and the stakeholders that very idea.

Paper prototyping is built for speed; wireframing is for providing users with more sophisticated visuals. Both are integral to successful user-centered design.

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Community Management Facebook Social Media Social Media Class Twitter

Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 526 – Social Media in a Crisis – a Look at Sabra Hummus and Listeria

Social Media in a Crisis – a Look at Sabra Hummus and Listeria

In April of 2015, Sabra hummus faced a social media and public health crisis. Some tests for hummus flavors contained the listeria bacterium.

Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 526 – Social Media in a Crisis – a Look at Sabra Hummus and Listeria
English: Listeria monocytogenes grown on Listeria Selective Agar (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (image is reproduced for educational purposes only)

What is Listeria? Why is it such a Problem?

Per FoodSafety.gov,

Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats.

Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization.

Complicating matters is that listeria ingestion can sometimes be fatal, or can induce miscarriages. Beyond just threatening the Sabra Dipping Company, hesitation, quite literally, could prove fatal.

Sabra’s Response

Per Sabra, “The potential for contamination was discovered when a routine, random sample collected at a retail location on March 30th, 2015 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.”

Before anyone was sickened, Sabra acted quickly and pulled potentially contaminated product from store shelves.

On their blog, Sabra announced the recall and provided a list of potential symptoms, so customers could judge for themselves whether they needed medical treatment. This included a list of UPC/SKU numbers and names of affected flavors, so customers could know if they’d bought a container. Use by dates on the list were posted in English and French, although the blog post was just in English. Neither the post nor the list received a Spanish translation.

Twitter War

As tweets poured in, Sabra’s community manager seemed overwhelmed. Finally, it was suggested that concerned customers contact their doctors

Any concerns or questions you have about your health are best discussed with a physician.

Further, sometimes the information being given out was flat-out wrong. For example, the company’s blog listed the dual classic and garlic hummus product, whereas this typical tweet implied that only the classic flavor was affected. Mixing would imply that in the dual package, the garlic half would potentially also be contaminated. –

Hi Kate, only our Classic Hummus is affected by this recall. No other product manufactured by Sabra is included.

The community manager insisted that only classic was affected even when a customer said that she had had a reaction to the garlic flavor. Later, the community manager had a change of heart and told the customer to report her case directly to Sabra’s customer service team.

Suzanne WillettApr 9
Sabra I had a fairly immediate GI reaction to the Roasted Garlic one yesterday. Advise?

SabraApr 9
SuzanneWillett Hi Suzanne, only our Classic Hummus has been affected in the recall.

Sabra Apr 9
SuzanneWillett However, please report your case immediately to our customer service team by calling 1-888-957-2272.

How the Brand Did

Sabra acted perfectly to quickly remove product from stores. This was not a direct social media response. However, it not only potentially saved lives, it also made the community manager’s job far easier. Consumer deaths were not a part of the equation. Offline behavior directly affected online behavior.

For a company in crisis, it seems the CEO did not publicly respond. The blog post is an author-less press release. Twitter didn’t point to anything the CEO had said. Without an authority figure behind the social media response, Twitter offers the impression that the community manager was left to twist in the wind.

Facebook

The same was true on Facebook. There was just one post about the crisis. A comment from the husband of a pregnant woman elicited the same rote response, suggesting calling a doctor. Other customers called out Sabra, demanding better answers and compensation –

Christine Schaefer
That’s a really weak answer Sabra. Of course a person who ate your contaminated product should follow up with their doctor, but what are YOU going to do about it? How are YOU going to support and compensate anyone who has been affected or has been frightened by eating one of your recalled products?

As for their blog, Sabra could have spread the link more widely. Part of the list had a French translation. Hence the list and the blog post should have been translated into both French and Spanish.

It’s as if Sabra did fine to start but then stumbled. They seem to have recovered, though, and are back to posting recipes now, much later.