Final Project Plan

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A framework for Decentralization

Social networking forms an important part of online activities of Web users. Web sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Orkut
have millions of users using them everyday. However, these sites present two problems. Firstly, these sites form information silos.
Information on one site is not usable in the others. Secondly such sites do not allow users much control over how their personal
information is disseminated, which results in potential privacy problems.

In terms of decentralization, we have a framework as shown above, in which we have a user trusted server, where he /she can hold data (photos) without giving it to other social networking sites. The activities of a user (called news feed in Facebook) may be automatically updated when someone has tagged the user in a photo. In a decentralized setting, a user can be given more control of the news to be included in the feed.
Suppose User A wants to tag User B in a photo which is uploaded to User A’s trusted server. Since User A owns the photo, he can maintain any tag on his trusted server. The framework makes sure that User B will be notified when User A tags User B by sending a SPARQL update to Server B. User B can configure the settings on the server software which will accept or ignore the notification updates. It is up to User B to maintain knowledge of the existence of the photo uploaded by User A on his trusted server. User B can choose to generate corresponding news feed for this tagging event.

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Reaching our users

So far we have finished our prototype, related research to justify it, the business model, now we’ll focus on marketing, how to reach our users.

There’re over 156 million blogs online, 600 million active users on Facebook, hundreds of millions of users on other social networking sites. As long as the condition that they have to socialise with group of people residents in more than two social networking sites or blogs are meet, they’re our potential users. What’s more, as more and more people aware of the importance of their personal data, seek a better solution for ensure their privacy, they don’t want to trade off their privacy for free social networking services, they will find us.

However, the problem we meet so far is that how can we survive in the climate that monopoly social networking sites such as Facebook dominate? How can we get the snow ball rolling?

We have 2 steps to go, step1, we’re not going to seek any commercial profit, we will get as many users as possible. We need to target to the exact user group for our application. The aim is to prove that our idea can sell, it is useful to people. We split our users in to two user groups: potential commercial users, and individuals that only share photos with our application. For potential commercial users such as night clubs, places of interests (Warwick castles, National Sea World etc), we’ll provide them our API with full document, we’ll convince them that our tools help them to share their products all over the social network sites but not only Facebook. Our tool is easy to integrate, handy to use and effective for marketing. One click to all. For individual users, we want to make sure they enjoy sharing with our tools. We’ll provide social networking plug-ins and web browser plug-ins to make sure that they can share anywhere, any time, they can view their friends’ share any where any time. At the end of step1, we’ll have a mature implementation of our initial idea including our own official sites, social plug-ins and web browser plug-ins, what’s more, our users.

Step2 will start after we have reasonable number of users. The reason why we put it in Step2 is to protect ourself. As our idea is neither patent nor implemented maturely, it could be easily copied by other companies, those giants could move a finger to finish us. If they team up to sharing data, we’ll not survive. Therefore the timing is we accumulate reasonable amount of users, the business model generates healthy profit, we’re confident that we can grow healthily no matter what other companies move (dominant strategy in game theory), we have built our barrier against other companies. we will approach giants to convince them that we’re doing the future, our open standard is the better solution for future social networking development, we talk not only with ideas or open standard pioneers “OXExchange” example, we talk with figures, the figures our idea generates. As long as we can get one giant on board, the number of users will explode and the network effect will automatically drag people in.

We concretely believe in that we’ll embrace a decentralised social network future, everyone owns their data, we don’t need to trade our privacy for social networking services. When this is coming, that’s when our vision is fulfilled. The Linked Data project will dominate and we’ll have one protocol (FOAF) and get rid of gardened social networking walls and our open standard will be part of it.

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Latest in Social Tagging

1. Social tagging in enterprise:- Does tagging work at work ?

(http://www.uie.com/articles/social_tagging/)

2. Social tagging accelerates acceptance of business tagging in SharePoint

(http://www.aiim.org/community/blogs/expert/Does-e2809cSocial-Tagginge2809d-Accelerate-Acceptance-Of-e2809cBusiness-Tagginge2809d-In-SharePoint)

3. Social Taggin on Iphone

(http://techcrunch.com/2008/09/09/tc50-sekai-camera-for-social-tagging-on-the-iphone/)

4. IPods with a built in FM radio will show the title and artist of songs playing on Kiss 100 and Magic 105.4. Listeners will be able to “tag” songs to buy the next time the iPod is docked into its home computer.

(http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/980430/Kiss-Magic-launch-iPod-tagging-tech/)

5. Tagging Robot

Tagging Robot currently crawls your Facebook newsfeed and separates your links based on topics, as well as giving you relevant topics data for each link.

(http://www.pmabox.com/blog/14168-former-myspacers-build-link-curator-tagging-robot)

6. Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag is a new kind of bar code that connects almost anything in the real world to information, entertainment, and interactive experiences on your mobile phone. Tags are free to create and use. You can add them to your ads, posters, product packages, display it on your website, billboards, clothing…the list is endless. When you scan a Tag using the free Tag Reader application on your mobile phone, it will automatically open a webpage, add a contact to your address book, display a message, or dial a number – there are no long URLs to type or SMS messages to send.

(http://tag.microsoft.com/consumer/index.aspx)

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Data Protection on privacy in social networking sites

Obviously there are a number of privacy concerns which must be tackled with when creating a social networking service and there are a number of laws which we must be aware of in this regard. Especially with kind of crazy articles like this one calling for all social media status’ to be delayed and approved before going live…

Social networking sites are websites where people can meet, chat and share their information but sometimes they are not aware of the vulnerability that it offers when they do such things. Users have a role to play in protecting their own privacy.

There are various types of social networking sites and most of them have the common idea of sharing your personal information which might be in the form of profiles that you make on those sites. The popularity of these sites prevails just because it allows information sharing with so many people. But the users must be aware of the consequences of the data they share about themselves, so it is always better to trust in sites that gives the user to choose their own privacy settings.

Let’s take the example of Facebook. It is not just a site for sharing information across friends but it is also a site where the information is shared across enhanced application and websites. But they do such activities only with the consent of the users. There are various features of the current social networking sites, one of them is tagging. As our project concentrates on this particular aspect, it is necessary for us to determine the privacy issue that a user has to face while using such features.

From the privacy point of view, tagging is one of the concepts where a user can wish to publish the information about a third person on his/her profile without having the consent of that user who is tagged. This dissemination of information is quite problematic in various cases. If the tagged person is also a user of the same social networking service then he is allowed to remove the tag but he/she is not allowed to remove the picture, however if the person is not a member of the same social networking site then he/she will not be able to remove the tag as well. The situation becomes more complicated when any other user of the social networking service tags some other user’s photo. In regards to these, the data protection principle requires the person who is on a picture should give their consent before they get tagged or even if their photo is uploaded. The violation of this would be interpreted as a breach of the obligations of the data controller under the European data protection legislation. Currently social networking sites allow the distribution of information about other users without their consent which needs refinement of the legal obligations and rights of the users of social networking sites.

The European Data Protection legislation is the body that is responsible for protecting the users against unlawful processing of their information. A European commission is set up on 2008 named as European Social Networking Task Force in the context of its safer internet programme (http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/sip/index_en.htm). They have set some guidelines and currently 17 social networking sites are following this, including Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.

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The Pitch

After a whole load of hard work and preparation. Our project culminated in a 10 minute pitch + 10 minute Q&A session last week. You can see the results below (in two parts because of the 10 minutes limit on Youtube).

Obviously nerves played a part and we missed a few points which we wanted to get across, but I feel we gave a good representation of the group and the video in particular seemed to get a good reaction from the panel. You can see the final draft of the presentation below if you wish to see how closely we managed to follow the “script”

We used Prezi for the presentation to give it a little more visual flare than standard powerpoint or keynote presentations and I think it worked. You can view the presentation before incase for whatever reason you feel like delivering the pitch yourself :p

During the questions and answers I feel we handled the questions well except for one about the capital required to get such a project off the ground. It is clear we haven’t yet thought enough about the large costs involved in putting together the website and marketing to sell the idea to web masters or social networks. This is something we will need to improve on in future.

The feedback we got was that:

  • The video was an excellent idea and helped to explain the idea in a non-technical manner.
  • We need to think about copyright and privacy more, as unforeseen expenses due to a lawsuit can ruin a small company.
  • We need to clarify the revenue model. Our presentation didn’t make it clear where the money was coming from and who it was going to. Which websites the adverts would be on, taggr or etags? etc.
  • We need to explain realistically how we will reach users.

Although there is only a short time left before the end of the project we are trying as best we can to ensure that these are clarified well enough on the blog.

We did decide to dress up for the occasion and do it in proper Dragons’ Den style. You can see how stylish we were below:

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All for one and one ToS for all

One of the issues raised by the critical friends in the lead up to the pitch was how terms of service would be managed if we were going to be using the image on a large number of social networks, and would the users be required to agree to a lot of different terms of service just to use the service.

We have decided that in the initial stages the users will need to agree to the terms of service of taggr, which would be created by a lawyer hired by Tag4Fun.

It would be unreasonable to assume that other providers of etags are going to accept the terms of service created by us and instead there would need to be a standardised terms of service agreed during the standardisation process. In this we would invite input from all of the major companies who would be likely to be interested in etags.

The terms of service would be written in such a way as to ensure that no network can take ownership of the user’s data, as this is one of the design goals of etags. It would also be a requirement that the standardised terms of service do not cover anything beyond the tagging data itself, for example image hosting. This would be up to the social networks and the user can choose which terms they find most acceptable.

The rest of the terms will need to be debated networks who are thinking of adopting taggr, especially with those already hosting this kind of data who may have experience to offer. However this issue lies in the future and in the short term the taggr terms of service will need to be drafted which will be replaced by the etags terms of service when they are standardised.

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Week 13

This update is a week late due to exams.

Last week we had two meetings, the first to plan for the presentation and assign the final blog posts which need to be made, and the second to practice the presentation in front of our critical friends and hear their feedback.

During the first meeting we first decided that due to the time constraints we should not have everyone speaking as it will affect the flow. It was decided that Jonny and Bharat should present.

Jonny Working, The camera man presumable not

Deep writing in big letters

The other three group members have been assigned to make posts on the blog in the areas where we feel we are lacking. It was also decided that we were going to have a practice session in front of the critical friends as thanks to their varied backgrounds this would helps us gauge the sort of reactions and the sort of questions we might get as a result of our pitch.

Larry taking notes in a notebook. Hasn’t he heard of Evernote?

Sumair sent an email to the ECS webmaster this week with a short questionnaire to try to get the view of a webmaster on taggr and etags. It is late in the project so we are unsure if we will get a response in time to use it but it seems worth a try.

The minutes of the meeting for 11/05/2011: -

1.Preparing for the presentation for the Dragon’s den. Jonny and Bharat has to prepare the slides.
2.Keeping the blogs updates about some more topics.To be done by Larry, Sumair and Deep.
3.Having a mock presentation any time after this week.
4.sending an invitation to the web scientist to come down to the demo presentation so that they can ask questions based on different aspects.
5.Communicate with the web master and wait for their feedback.

Unfortunately our supervisor couldn’t make it to the practice presentation but we performed it reasonably well and got some very good questions from the critical friends which influenced changes to the presentation and blog posts.

Thanks Critical Friends :)

The points and questions raised after seeing the presentation were:

  • Can taggr run on its own if it doesn’t get the support of the big companies?
  • Do users need to agree to the terms and conditions of all of the companies involved?
  • Who owns the images uploaded?
  • It might be worth adding OpenSocial to the networks list at the beginning
  • Need to make the point about offering impartial advice on selecting a provider
  • The video needs a short introduction first so people know what they are looking at, otherwise they spend half of the video figuring it out and miss some of the point
  • Introduce the group at the beginning
  • Maybe mention the future possibilites of tagging things other than images: text, videos, etc.
  • Make sure we know at least some of the legal framework we need to operate within. The two main ones to look at are the data protection act, and the human rights act article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life)
  • Make sure we inform users exactly how sponsors could use their images – could they be used in marketing?

The points made by the critical friends greatly improved the quality of the final presentation and I’d like to thank them on behalf of the group for taking time out of their revision schedule to help us out.

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Test results

To make sure our prototype is both technically right and easy to use, we conducted a series of usability tests.

Compatibility Tests

Although the prototype was only designed to work in Google Chrome, it is worth testing its compatibility with other browsers to see how far it would be from being functional and releasable as a product. To achieve this, we tested it under popular web browsers (IE6.0, IE7.0 IE8.0, IE9.0, Safari, Chrome, Firefox) in different Operating Systems (Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard).

The results show that webpage crushes in IE6.0 (WINDOWS 7),

Image shown normally in Chrome, Safari and Firefox (see the image underneath)

but image frames disappeared in all IE browsers (see the image underneath)

Image frame not shown in IE Browsers

Apart from this, the prototype works fine.

Tools used: IE Tester, Chrome debugger, Firefox debugger

In the second part, we traced the behaviour of testers (who used the system for the first time) by recoding their engagement with system. We recorded the sessions using Silverback 2.0. This session is split into three phases:

before testers do the test, they are asked to answer several questions:

*Have you seen the taggr advertising video?
*Have you used taggr before?
*Have you used other tagging systems before, for example facebook photo tags?

during the test, they’re asked to perform several tasks, as most of them are amateurs, we asked them to speak out their mind loudly, then we can record what they really want to do clearly. These tasks include:

* Tag one of the people in the photo.
* View that person’s other photos.
* Remove the tag you just added.

After the test, testers are asked to give feedbacks if there are any.

Test Subject 1

Test Subject 2

  • This user tried to right click twice, once when placing a tag, and once when trying to remove it. This needs consideration over what is more appropriate, retaining the original right-click functionality of the site, or making it work “as expected” for users who right click. I certainly think a right click menu to remove tags could be a useful idea.
  • She clicked the name rather than the “Photos” link, taking her to the account rather than the other taggr photos. We need to look at a better way of highlighting the difference.
  • At the end there is a software bug which prevents her from removing the tag, however she performed the action correctly.

Test Subject 3


  • Performed well due to the familiar facebook-like interface.
  • Tried to remove a tag when he didn’t have permission. Maybe we should hide the remove button when it’s not permitted.
  • Didn’t like being unable to click through from the photo list to the full photos, however this is obviously not the photo list we would actually use.
  • There was no confirmation on remove tags. Maybe we need to think about adding one.
  • There was a bug where “Finish tagging” didn’t appear although it should have.

Test Subject 4


  • tried to remove tag but couldn’t – hide it if you don’t have permission?
  • tried to drag
  • couldn’t spell my name – we can’t deal with this ;)
  • looked for remove before “Start tagging” – maybe offer some option to remove tags without needing to “Start Tagging”?

Test Subject 5

  • Didn’t realise the need to “Start Tagging”
  • Noticed delay between clicking tag and tag placing
  • First viewed Facebook profile instead of photos. This isn’t obvious
  • Tried to remove tag without “Start Tagging”

Conclusions

Dragging to create a tag is definitely something to be included. We have done this in more recent prototypes. Remove the delay between adding a tag and confirming – perhaps show a loading indicator so people know it hasn’t just frozen. Find a better way of linking to different aspects of a user’s profile (photos, etc.) because people seem to just click the name. Maybe add a confirmation when removing tags, and don’t show the tags which the user doesn’t have permission to remove.

We regret that we could not perform more usability tests at different stages in the task but it was difficult to get together the group of people and the appropriate environment to conduct the tests. In future we would definitely conduct more tests as we feel this gave useful feedback on problems which we didn’t realise existed.

Technically, bugs detected should be fixed. From user experience point of view, the text in the following image is too hard to recognize sometimes as the colour of the text is very close to the background colour. In the following example image, you can hardly recognize there’re texts underneath the Chinese man. A proposed solution is to analysis the pixels of the background and make the colour of the text reverse of the colour of the background.

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Personas and Scenarios II

These are some of the remaining possible scenarios

Scenario 3:

Actor: An existing social network

Context: An existing social network such as Facebook, Orkut wants to add new features to its existing set of online socialising facilities or it’s reviewing the value it’s giving to customers. Therefore reintroducing the social media (website) with added functionality of cross site photo tagging would attract more users to use the network. One possible implementation of our project in an existing social network would be an application that accesses the basic information from user’s profile to display a list of user’s friends when tagging and after tagging is finished, the friend’s feed would be updated with this activity. Finally the application would also aggregate the tagged photos through the application into a separate category in the friend’s photos tab.

Scenario 4:

Actor: General end users of any social networking website.

Context: Consider a general internet user of the web 2.0 age, who likes to connect with his/her friends via online social communities, therefore, he/she joins the website(s) to share ideas, links, photos etc with the help of those online communities. Let’s assume that the user is also a photographer and owns a blog to show his art of photography. One scenario could be if the user wants to tag the photos uploaded on the blog with his/her friends, for this purpose the photos must be uploaded to the online community which allows photo tagging, and then tag. So the user will end up uploading photos twice.
Our product on the other hand would save the time and resources where the user can easily tag the photos on the blog and friends will be informed of the activity. Therefore, our product is providing value to the customer in terms of saving time and organizing the media (photos) with proper notification mechanism (feed updates).

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