Dissertation Proposal On Virtual&Meetup System
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Like this? Share it with your network

Share

Dissertation Proposal On Virtual&Meetup System

on

  • 1,241 views

Tong Xu's Dissertation Proposal for Master Courses in Interactive Media

Tong Xu's Dissertation Proposal for Master Courses in Interactive Media

Statistics

Views

Total Views
1,241
Views on SlideShare
1,241
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
9
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Dissertation Proposal On Virtual&Meetup System Document Transcript

  • 1. Virtual and Meetup System -------Dissertation Proposal Name: Tong Xu Student No.:0702542
  • 2. Table of Contents Chapter1 Introduction……………………………………………………………3 1.1Brief Introduction of the Proposal………………………………….3 1.2Initial Thoughts……………………………………………………...3 1.3The Motivation………………………………………………………4 1.4Literature Review……………………………………………………5 Chapter2 Concept and Technologies………………………………………….…6 2.1 The Concept…………………………………………………….…..6 2.1.1 The 3-D Virtual World…………………………………….….6 2.1.2 Meetup in Real World…………………………………….…...8 2.2 User and User Experience……………………………………….…9 2.3 Technologies for Final Project………………………………….….9 2.3.1 The Use of PHP…………………………………………….…..9 2.3.2 Building Database with My SQL and PHP……………….….9 2.3.3 Interactive Media Technologies………………………….….10 2.4 Research Models……………………………………………….….10 Chapter3 Research Methods………………………………………………..…..11 3.1 Design Method…………………………………………………..…11 3.2 Snowball Techniques…………………………………………..…..11 3.3 Cooperative Evaluation…………………………………………...12 3.4 Ethnomethodology and Virtual Ethnography……………….….12 3.5 Issues for Space-Based Approach…………………………….….13 Chapter4 Timetable for Future Plans…………………………………….……14 4.1 The Exploration and Preparation………………………………...14 4.2 The Realization of Project…………………………………………14 References………………………………………………………………………..15 2
  • 3. Chapter1 Introduction 1.1 Brief Introduction of the Proposal Virtual and Social Meetup System is my dissertation proposal, a social networking that facilitates online three-dimensional chatting in virtual world and offline group meetings in real world. For online 3-D chatting, it combines online chatting with online games together. The distinction of the proposal is that it entitles the merits of traditional text chat as well as its own characteristics, ie. Users are able to socialize, connect and interact with other participants using personalized avatars in the virtue world which resembles the real meeting environment. For offline group meetings, it acts as social media where the internet is not restricted to use online, but helps people to unite together and share passions in real world. Technology does change life; in my project it is possible to see how real groups make real difference. 1.2 Initial thoughts This dissertation proposal is different from my previous thoughts. Actually it is not easy to come to this step, but it is worth working as the proposal becomes more clear and interactive. Building a website to introduce courses of Interactive Media was my initial proposal. While in the process of research I found many similar websites and the only job left was just to organize diverse kinds of information together. As this work was uncreative and less interactive, I gave up this idea. Then I put up the idea to set up a social website to make friends and date with them. The functions were Profile (where users are able to notify friends about themselves), Friends (where a list of friends would appear to connect and interact with), Search (where users can identify specific individual organized by hobby, city, school or region) and Match Me (where tailor-made suggestions of dating would be given to each member according to their various demands). 3
  • 4. Thanks to grateful help and useful suggestions from professors and classmates, they have pointed out drawbacks of my plan, including issues like how to attract people together, the problem of data filtering and the target users were not clear, etc. Apart from this, they gave me valuable suggestions to add more interactive features. Gradually the proposal to make a social networking of Virtual and Social Meetup System becomes clear. 1.3 The Motivation The motives to build such a network come from three aspects: Personal Considerations: My background was English Literature and I did not get in touch with computer technologies before studying Interactive Media. That is the reason why I am often under lots of pressures during the process. When thinking of dissertation proposal, I really hope to take this as an opportunity to consolidate knowledge through the use of interactive media techniques I have learnt. In this case building a website is a practical choice to offer me such a platform. The Power of Social Media: One of the great things about social media is that no one really knows what the next big thing is, whose uncertainty arises my interest. Social media utilizes the technology of the internet to “open up dynamic dialogue with target users, allowing for interaction and personal connection. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect the online world, then to form different relationships. The successful examples of social media are Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. The Problem in the development of Social Media: The same tools we choose to use for bringing us together as the human race are also used to keep us apart. Heinferman said “The internet does a number of wonderful things, but it treats geography as irrelevant. We still live in a world where the local level is extremely important.” Nowadays we get accustomed to talk with people online all over the world, but we are less likely to recognize our neighbors living in the same community! Therefore, my social networking tends to be a motive force to encourage and unite people together to meet in real life. 4
  • 5. 1.4 Literature Review Before starting my dissertation, it is necessary to examine the previous work to get inspirations and make improvements for mine. In Text Chat In Action, Jachi O’Neill and David Martin examined the method of how participants manage their interactions through considering multiple threads. As the conclusion, they suggest to develop multiple chat windows, and use alternative channels. Associated with my proposal, text chat will be adopted as it is an effective medium to support informal words communication in 3-D chatting. But limited by my capability, I will not develop other channels such as audio or video ones. In CSCW at play: “There” as a collaborative virtual environment, authors examined game’s flexibility to allow players to develop their own forms of play within the game. Some valuable aspects have been discussed, like how the environment supports a range of social activities around objects. Such issues are essential for my dissertation to build a fluid interaction space in 3-D environment. Only when participants feel free and trusty in the virtual world, can they enjoy the pleasure that virtue meeting brings to them. In Chatting with Teenagers: Considering the Place of Chat Technologies in Teen Life, professors examined the use of SMS and IM in the teenage population, covering the content of what types of activities teenagers coordinate via SMS, and the significance of using SMS for teenagers. Viewing the fact that teenagers have been on the forefront of adopting instant messages (IM), in my dissertation, although I will not focus on teenager users, I will make suitable avatars or setting choices to prevent misleading them. Moreover, from the book Interaction Design, I have learnt the process to perform Cooperative Evaluation; Usability Issues in Website Design gives me guidelines to design a good web. 5
  • 6. Chapter2 Concept and Technologies 2.1 The Concept Virtual and Social Meetup System as the combination of online chatting and offline group meetings, its content needs to be considered from two perspectives how to build a vivid virtual world and how to take advantage of social networking to encourage participants to meet in real world. 2.1.1 The 3-D Virtual World Researchers at MIT and Harvard have found that “people who had had a chance to internet with each other (by computers only) on a virtual tour of a museum subsequently had more successful face-to-face meetings than people who had viewed only profiles.” The lifelike 3-D virtual world will be built mainly from three aspects: avatars, 3-D scenes and music for different virtual rooms. The setting goal is to provide attractive and comfortable personal spaces for participants to communicate and interact with others they are interested in. However, dialogues in conversation will be displayed purely in text just like other traditional text-based chat, which is because text chat application is mature supporting either messaging between two participants or multiple participants. First of all, choices of avatars are essential in 3-D chatting owing to the fact that avatars are the embodiments of real participants, and their attitudes towards avatars decide the future of the website. In my plan, a set of avatars will be provided to let participants choose from. Of course, they are allowed to personalize their avatars at any time to become what they want to be, through the change of skin color, hair style, body shape, and even the gender. Moreover, it is very common in Facebook to find a member uses nonhuman figures like a fish as the avatar. I also would like to allow participants to make avatars something nonhuman and funny like a robot or maybe even a flower. When making avatars, I will try to avoid sexual bias or sexual innuendo like large breast or unbelievable thin waist, and extremely perfect (like Barbie) or wicked (like Hitler) images will not appear. The objective is to set good models for participants, especially teenager users, without misleading them. 6
  • 7. There are two things need considering when designing avatars, one is the aesthetics of avatars, such as characteristics including appearance, actions, and the way to dress up. The other thing is the programmatic factor of avatars, which refers to the ability of avatars and its interactive features. Secondly, various 3-D scenes will be animated to offer fantastic spaces for participants to chat in lifelike virtual environment. 3-D scenes have two advantages: one is that these spaces reduce distances between users—they are able to chat “face-to-face”; the other is that such virtual environments give users a better quality user experience than traditional text chatting. Different scenes are used for different usages to generate different feelings. Some possible scenes are listed as follows, and I have begun to realize some of them in 3D Max: “A Home Away From Home”: If two participants are in favor of each other or fall in love, this room is a perfect choice for dating, dancing, flirting and more. It is romantic and private, where users can enjoy the feelings of sweet love. “Global Chat”: Here participants are able to meet and collaborate with friends all over the world in unique 3D environment. “Exotic Scenery”: In this part, the chatting room will be decorated like the style in China or Egypt. This design will gain the favor by those who are fans of exotic cultures. In addition, they travel through the world when staying at home, and no luggage fees required. : ) “Ordinary Sitting Room”: Here participants can experience the warmth of family, when they sit on the sofa with a cup of coffee on the table. Thirdly, music is available matching the atmosphere of each room. Background music is necessary when chatting in 3-D room as music promotes communication. Music not only reflects the culture, but also expresses and affects experience, creates feelings and responses among listeners. I have chosen traditional Chinese music and light music from Youtube; for other pieces of music, like sounds in disco and other nature sounds, I will make them myself in Logic Pro. The link of Chinese music is as follows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1iAAqQ71P8&feature=related. 7
  • 8. 2.1.2 Meetup in Real World Over the past few years more and more social networking springs up like Facebook. However, the characteristics of Virtual and Social Meetup System lie in its combined functions, ie. it promotes and creates opportunities for participants to meet in real world apart from online chatting. The function to facilitate real meetup should be realized through traditional website design, hence some of my previous work would be of some help, for example, functions of “Search” and “Match Me” can be adopted to use. Issues about how to match people effectively and how to bring people together determine the popularity of this kind of networks. With the purpose of matching people effectively, personal information is required from prospective members before they can search for other individuals using criterion of gender, location or age range. What is more important, search engine should be available on every webpage to facilitate matching. Topics of interest are also needed from members, in that case the system is able to recommend related groups and activities, or inspire participants to start new groups to find like-minded people. In order to gather people together, it is necessary to raise the name recognition among internet users. Inspired by the developing history of Meetup.com, whose surge came after the time when American political candidates were attracted to use Meetup to coordinate their grassroots movement. Similarly, I hope to twitter some famous people who are fans of social media, and try to invite them to test Virtual and Social Meetup System. With the popularity of social media, it is impossible to attend all the networking events and parties around the city, but still people have the needs to meet new people and learn about others. Based on personal preference data that members offered, some information of related topics, events and venues in and around the city will be informed to users through emails if they allow doing so. Consequently they are less likely to miss the meetup they are interested in, without being distracted by a plethora of other resources. 8
  • 9. 2.2 User and User Experience As a general-purpose social networking, the target users are not confined to a certain group. However, taking into account of my capability and marketing feasibility, I define focus groups of Virtual and Social Meetup System to students in University of Limerick. As a student in the same University, there are several advantages to broadcast my dissertation proposal. First of all, it is easy to gather users’ feedbacks. I can send emails to students, or post threads on campus forum to encourage them to try my web. Then, I have geographical advantage to interview participants face to face to ascertain user expectations and acceptance of services. In addition, online surveys can also be conducted at the same time to collect real-time data on demand more generally. Efficiency and usability will be paid attention to offer a quality user experience when they socialize online and interact with system’s services. To test efficiency of the system, a task list will be designed to test the understanding of users for current system, and whether the system can fit the real-life demands of users. As to usability issues, the usability checklist written by Larisa Thomason will be employed during the iterative interactive design. 2.3 Technologies for Final Project 2.3.1 The Use of PHP I need to code a section that always displays the latest news which is automatically generated, and titles of latest five news are shown automatically; Web forums are required to set up in PHP, where users can post their own threads or reply to others’ ones in various groups. Some researches have shown that offering web forums is a good way to get users to return to the same site. 9
  • 10. 2.3.2 Building Databases with My SQL and PHP A user database needs to be implemented through the use of My SQL to save and keep the data of users; A detailed database that covers all the contents should be built to facilitate participants to browse all functions or search for a particular service; In the book Teach Yourself: PHP, My SQL and Apache, it says that “Using PHP and My SQL to create dynamic, database-driven website is a breeze.”. With the combination use of two technologies, there are TWO tasks to do in the following months. Firstly, building a Content Management System (CMS) for storing, indexing and searching text or functions; secondly, building a web-based email service to facilitate users of related information they are interested in through email to their existing mailbox. 2.3.3 Interactive Media Technologies Virtual and Social Meetup System will be realized in Dreamweaver. Avatars will be designed in Flash to facilitate users to make personalized ones. Various 3-D virtual environments will be realized in 3-D Max. Background music special for each virtual scene will be made in Logic Pro to avoid the infringement of musical copyright. 2.4 Research Models SP-STUDIO (http://www.sp-studio.de/ ): It is the flash game to create customized characters through changing skin color, adding accessory or selecting backgrounds. Meetup.Com (http://www.meetup.com/tour/ ): It allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as hobbies, politics, games, movies. Users enter their ZIP code and topic they want to meet about, and then the website helps them to arrange a place and time to meet. IMVU(http://www.imvu.com/ ): With IMVU users create their own avatars to chat in animated 3-D scenes. 10
  • 11. Chapter3 Research Methods 3.1 Design Method The design method I want to adopt is User—Centered Design. As user-generated website, Virtual and Social Meetup System relies on users and has to meet the needs and expectations of real users with the consideration of constraints and relevant factors. The users’ requirements need to be thought over at the beginning of the design process, and the prototype and evaluations should also be based on users’ needs. “Know your users” and “YOU are NOT users” are two simple but important formulas to obey. After analyzing users’ cognitive frameworks, some user requirements should be drawn, then it is routine to draw several prototypes (in papers or Wizard of OZ) to test them with users. The reactions of users to potential functions and features will direct the improvements of prototype and design concept. The design process should be iterative and always involves users. 3.2 Snowball Techniques Snowball techniques will be used to collect users. As I stated in previous chapter, prompted by constant threads on campus forum, UL students will be encouraged to try my social networking. Some of them would browse it and tell their feelings to their acquaintances. Thus the user group would grow like a rolling snowball, and gradually enough data would be gathered for the research. 11
  • 12. 3.3 Cooperative Evaluation Cooperative evaluation is most useful for early feedback for redesign process in a rapid iterative cycle. The process is as follows: recruiting users covering various knowledge, experience, skills and educational background, then designing a form of task list, the result of which is reflective of users’ needs and direction of future design, and then interacting and recording during the process of testing. “Thinking aloud” is of great importance for cooperative evaluation, through taking notes users’ actions and problems will be detected for further design process. 3.4 Ethnomethodology and Virtual Ethnography Ethnomethodology is the study of moment-by-moment nature of work as practical ongoing accomplishment of everyday life, and the corresponding output tends to be rich descriptive texts. However, ethnomethodology is characterized as indexicality, so the context will be referred to in which the language takes place in the practice. To understand the properties of text chat, ethnomethodology will be employed to deal with actions and interactions of activities. During the process, how to put up “Implications of System Design” with ethnomethodological approach is a crucial step to analyze interactive activities. Ethnography is a qualitative and interpretative technique that involves researchers engaging in some degree of immersion and direct observation of the work in its natural setting. Related qualitative techniques include in-context interviews, focused observation, video-diary, and interactive walkthroughs of space. From CSCW at play: “There” as a collaborative virtual environment, I learn the method to study online activity characterized as “virtual ethnography”. “This approach involves the familiar techniques of ethnography with a significant amount of time spent online in the research setting, observing, participating and taking field notes.” 12
  • 13. 3.5 Issues for Space-Based Approach In 3-D virtual world, the familiarities and intuitions in interacting in physical spaces should be explored. One issue is about embodiment, ie. how people are identified and presented in the space. In 3-D spaces, participants need the basic sense of front, back and face to recognize themselves. Another issue is about navigation, which concerns with how virtual spaces are represented and how people are able to find their way around in virtual world. Last but not least, awareness plays an important role in 3-D environment, which refers to how position and direction can be measured in 3-D space design. 13
  • 14. Chapter4 Timetable for Future Plans 4.1 The Exploration and Preparation (Mainly in first half of May) I have registered as a member in Meetup.com and IMVU. Throughout the process of doing the project I will experience the existing social networking services as a user, from which some innovative ideas or improvements may come out to implement the dissertation proposal. On social media like Facebook and Twitter, various kinds of information and learning resources are available, from which some original thinking may spring up. When ideas come clearer, it is necessary to go to Google Scholar to find some theoretical background or support to check their feasibility. During the first half of May, I have to make the most use of time to learn related technical knowledge as much as possible, including PHP and My SQL. These preparations are of great importance for the realization of dissertation proposal during the summer vocation. 4.2 The Realization of Project (From late May to late August) From 18th to 31st of May: To understand users and draw requirements for my project; to find some target users to observe and interact with them; Throughout June: To realize initial prototype in the form of paper prototype or Wizard of Oz, and to test them with some users, then to make improvements for the prototype. From the beginning of July: to build high-level prototype, including setting up functions and providing services in PHP and My SQL as I stated in Technologies in Final Project in Chapter2. The duration of this process cannot be estimated, and it varies as the research goes deeper. From July, the dissertation will be written as the project goes on. Now when I review the timetable, I feel confident because I know what I should do at any time from now on although lots of hard work is in front of me. I will keep to the timetable and hope to finish my project at late August. 14
  • 15. References Robert D. Putnam, (2000) Bowling Alone. New York: Simon&Schuster. Julie C. Meloni, (2003) Teach Yourself: PHP, My SQL and Apache. Sams Publishing, Indiana. Luke Welling, Laura Thomason, (2005) PHP and My SQL Web Development. Sams Publishing, Indiana. Mark S. Ackerman, (2000) The Intellectual Challenge of CSCW: The Gap Between Social Requirements and Technical Feasibility. Human-Computer Interaction, Volume15, Issues2&3, Pages179-203. E Agichtein, C Castillo, G Mishne, (2008) Finding High-Quality Content in Social Media. New York, NY, USA. Jachi O’Neill, David Martin, (2003) Text Chat In Action. ACM, New York, NY, USA. P40-49. Barry Brown, Marek Bell, (2004) CSCW at play: “There” as a collaborative virtual environment. ACM, New York, NY, USA. P350-359. R E Grinter, L Palen, M Eldridge, (2006) Chatting with Teenagers: Considering the Place of Chat Technologies in Teen Life. ACM, New York, NY, USA. Volume 13, Issue 4. 15