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Tweet Tracking App Design Document



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Design Document written partially for an assignment as a graduate student at the University of Southern California for the Techniques in Data Visualization course I took with wireframes used in the creation for an actual web application.

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Tweet Tracking App Design Document

  1. 1. Running head: Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 1 Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document Bessie Chu University of Southern California
  2. 2. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 2 Abstract This is a design document to providing a product roadmap for web application to track Twitter conversations during live events, such as a television show or a sports game, and output parsable data for post-analysis. This document serves to complete the requirements of IML 502: Techniques of Information Visualization. The web-based application would ideally be used by non-technical personnel at an advertising agency, research group, academic institution, and other organizations to track conversations around a certain topic, such as individual users or a brand. The potential design and visualization functionality I detail in this document works in conjunction with accepted design principles drawing from theoretical frameworks and best practices. A basic rundown of needed personnel, estimated timeline, and tools is also included with the caveat that a specialized technical team may change these steps and timelines depending on resources. This document should accomplish the goal of working as a roadmap for development in terms of design, functionality, and process to a functional alpha version of this software for testing before a wider beta rollout to a limited number of clients.
  3. 3. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 3 Expanded Project Background: I am working on long-term research project researching international sports fandom and brands using Twitter conversations during the UEFA Champion’s League and the World Cup as subjects of study as a part of the Annenberg Innovation Lab. We are working in conjunction with IBM’s jStart Team, an emerging technologies group in the company, and international communications conglomerate HAVAS Sports and Entertainment. I have been working with IBM to develop a platform for the type of research we’re trying to accomplish, namely a 1) web-based application for collecting live tweets during a soccer game to be used by non-technical personnel, in this case account planners at advertising agencies such at HAVAS SE. 2) a platform to directly plug into collected tweets for limited analysis using data visualization as an exploratory tool. They have currently developed a Java-based desktop app that is not scalable for distributed use. We have proposed a browser-based web application that they are currently beginning to build. This design document moves beyond the more basic feature set I’ve been working with IBM. What I’m attempting to accomplish here with this design doc is an expansion of that idea into an idealized platform. I choose this project as I eventually want to go into Product Management, and this is a good exercise for me to get feedback on how to organize different moving parts, how to communicate them visually, and how to integrate
  4. 4. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 4 functionality with design. Part of the feature set of this idealized web application includes plug and play data visualizations, similar to how Tableau has pre-set options, with four specific presets in the application. Objective Build web-based solution to track and analyze tweets for a non-technical audience. Current Datasets and Collection Method: Twitter conversations are tracked in real time using Twitter’s Public Streaming API. The current collection methodology is a Python-based script run through a shell script pre-set with access tokens and variable fields for each data collection run. The script collects metadata about each Tweet, such as User ID, handle name, text of Tweet, etc. and compiles them into dictionaries. We then run another script to parse the dictionaries out into csv files.
  5. 5. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 5 Current Process:
  6. 6. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 6 This methodology is currently not scalable to non-technical staff, especially given that we are tasked with having an application to be used by staff scattering in various international markets with varying technical capability and system configurations. Working with spreadsheets is not scalable due data exceeding Excel’s capabilities. The data needs to be moved into a MongoDB or PostGreSQL database with connectors and software in place to be accessed by non-technical staff. Data has already been collected, with nearly a million tweets on servers from the UEFA Champion’s League Series with plans to collect data in several key games about HAVAS SE client brands during the FIFA World Cup this summer. This web app will allow us to scale this data collection to non-technical staff worldwide in HAVAS SE’s offices and among non-technical USC researchers. Informed Design Principles: Theoretical Framework In creating this web application, beautiful and functional design is paramount. Working with an international audience of marketers and getting their buy into this project will require an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing portal to establish the credibility of our team. In this process, I must insist on using design principles and acknowledge some perils in creating essentially preset
  7. 7. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 7 data visualization outputs as well as the need for an iterative process rather than a single platform release set in stone. Design Guidelines 1. Simple Design Principles The current set-up with IBM’s proprietary (hence screenshots not included) platform is not friendly for non-technical users and is desktop based. Part of that is because it uses more than a dozen colors on the interface that resembles more of a Windows desktop application than the browser-based applications that access a cloud stack that our target user-base would be more familiar with. Hence, the web app I’m proposing uses design principles in color using what William Lidwell, Krstina Holden, and Jill Butler (2003) call “using colors conservatively” (Color section, para. 2). I’ve done so on the wireframes that the site colors will evolve from. The eye can only process about five colors in one glance (Color section, para. 2). With that in mind, the website should be created using opposing colors on the color wheel and use pure hues to attract attention to functional elements, such as buttons to save and move data (Color section, para. 3 & 4). I also took care to keep elements balanced on the wireframes and will continue to do so in the design of the web application, particularly paying attention to symmetry. This website will be used by a relatively discerning and design savvy yet not technical crowd, having an application pleasing to the eye paired with functionality will go a long way. Ahamed Altaboli and Yingzi Lin
  8. 8. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 8 (2012) found during their experiments that at “high levels of symmetry, unity of form… has significant effects on perceived visual aesthetics of website interface design” (p. 732). The design should focus on coherent layout and symmetric layout for user-friendly experience. Large conglomerates often forget these principles that start-ups have embraced in the analytics space to their success. I’ve kept this in mind as I’ve wireframed this app. 2. Acknowledging Perils Alexander Galloway argues that, “Data have no necessary form” (p. 82) meaning “any visualization of data requires a contingent leap from the mode of the mathematical to the mode of the visual. This does not mean that aestheticization cannot be achieved” (p. 82) thus “every interface must try to overcome its own unworkability” (p. 85). In other words, data should be made beautiful and understandable. This is the challenge of how to strip down the interface to be usable by laypersons but not remove too many potential features for research, being mindful of not to “sacrifice the aesthetic for the algorithmic” nor “sacrifice the algorithmic in favor of the aesthetic” (p. 97). Neither the art nor the science should be shortchanged. In both interface design for the site and the data visualization outputs, I chose the simple visual outputs to acknowledge these issues. This audience should be able to understand planned outputs from the naked eye: namely a network graph, bar charts, and spreadsheets. This could be a particular issue with the network visualization outputs. Development will have to pay careful
  9. 9. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 9 attention to the network mapping and making sure that connections can be zoomed in and out of and panned without loosing the density provides deep insides into what Julie Steele & Noah Illiinsky (2010) call “social intimacy” (p. 23) in the connections among users. The outputs should allow us to see the social landscape easily. 3. Iterative Design One challenge and design with this idealized app is to make it a constant work in progress. I concur with Jer Thorp (2003) describing taking “small visualization steps” as “sketch points” that don’t initially consider aesthetics. The way this design doc is initially designed, as well as the alpha and beta versions could be taken as adhering to that process. Some companies want to deploy everything done at once, but I believe in the iterative approach and allowing the end users to weigh in their input and going back and making incremental changes before a large release. A large release should not constrain future improvements.
  10. 10. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 10 Design Document Key Functionality • Login page o Twitter API key configurations tied to logins • Simple navigation page • Tracking page connected to Twitter Public API Stream o Field to copy and paste keywords and hashtags to track o Field to copy and paste user IDs to track • Analysis Dashboard o Network analysis showing how users are interconnected with links and nodes o Summary Bar Chart analysis on which URLs or web links were tweeted the most o Summary Bar Chart showing which handles had the most retweets o Tweet and User Search ! Look up individual users and tweets by metadata elements ! Look up tweets containing keyword, hashtag, or other search value
  11. 11. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 11 Wireframes Site mockups created with Balsamiq Core functionality outline: Index Page: • Login page that will load a post login page • It is expected that users will be pre-generated accounts from company without a registration step
  12. 12. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 12
  13. 13. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 13 Post Login Page: • Simple navigation page
  14. 14. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 14 Tracking Page • Stripped down functionality as much as possible as a motivation • Current IBM tool is extremely cluttered with too many options, which has proved frustrating for even technical staff at lab • Once tracking starts the “Tracking Output Page” will appear • Users will be able to stop and add more keywords or user ids, which will automatically saved in the fields • When user clicks “Finished,” values will clear
  15. 15. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 15 User Configuration Page: • Simple configuration page to copy over Twitter credentials • Field order and text mimics Twitter Developer Account layout • This step has proven one of the most difficult in beta testing • Duplicated link to documentation with the text “Help” since there will likely be confusion here
  16. 16. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 16 Tracking Output Page: • Streaming page with just with text output from Twitter stream to watch tracking
  17. 17. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 17 Analysis Dashboard • Search for file (files available to all members of team) and select method of analysis
  18. 18. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 18 Network Graph • Example graph taken from Gephi • Ideal scenario where users can zoom into nodes and click individual nodes for user metadata • See how users might be linked to certain influencers and social eco- systems on Twitter
  19. 19. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 19 Retweet Bar Chart • Bar chart of most Retweeted users. Reasonable magnitude algorithms will need to be built to cut-off too values too small to add to analysis
  20. 20. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 20 URL Breakdown Bar Chart • Bar chart of most Tweeted URLs. Certain television shows have Instagram heavy audiences, for example, that could be interesting for advertisers
  21. 21. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 21 Spreadsheet Browse and Search • Search by individual user or terms in Tweet text to load into interface for csv export
  22. 22. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 22 Production Timeline and Personnel Needed Personnel • Backend Developer with knowledge of EC2 Amazon Cloud Servers • Frontend Developer with knowledge of moving data from site inputs to back-end smoothly • Product Manager gathering requiresment and feedback Development Timeline Next Steps After the completion of this course, I plan to deliver a stripped down version of this design document for our purposes to IBM to build the tool that will only include the login and collection functionality as an initial version. The rest of the functionality roadmap will be cleaned up and expanded upon accordingly with feedback to be loaded on a personal online portfolio of my graduate work.
  23. 23. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 23 UPDATE: This application was built and used in six international offices at HAVAS (Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom) and by three USC researchers as part of a data collection of nearly 10 million tweets.
  24. 24. Twitter Tracking and Analysis Web App Design Document 24 References Altaboi, A., & Lin, Y. (2012). Effects of unity of form and symmetry on visual aesthetics of website interface design. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 56(1), 728-732. doi:10.1177/1071181312561152 Galloway, A. R. (2013). The interface effect. Hoboken: Polity. Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design: 100 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design [Kindle Edition]. Gloucester, Mass: Rockport. Steele, J., & Iliinsky, N. P. N. (2010). Beautiful visualization: Looking at data through the eyes of experts. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly. Thorp, J. (2013). Visualization as a process., 2014, from Twitter Developer Documentation. (2014). Frequently asked questions., 2014, from