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A platform for disaster relief assistance by online volunteers Alberto Elizondo


Tesi di laurea

Corso di laurea specialistica o magistrale in Comunicazioni Visive e Multimediali

Titolo tesi di laurea

Fulcra, a platform for disaster relief assistance by online volunteers

Cognome e nome

Alberto Elizondo

Matricola n.

270589

Anno accademico

2010/2011

Relatore

Philip Tabor

Firma

Correlatore

Gillian Crampton Smith

Firma

Sessione di laurea

IIIo Aprile 2012


FULCRA A platform for disaster relief assistance by online volunteers

Sessione di laurea Aprile 2012 Tesi di Laurea UniversitĂ  Iuav di Venezia FacoltĂ  di Design e Arti Corso di laurea magistrale in Comunicazioni Visive e Multimediali

Alberto Elizondo 270589 Relatore Philip Tabor Correlatrice Gillian Crampton Smith


Abstract Fulcra is an online platform for aid relief workers to crowdsource menial tasks to a community of volunteers. The platform alleviates the workload in the different stages of emergency management but especially in the mitigation, preparedness and recovery phases. Tasks can include information bulletins with updates taken from the Internet on the disaster, contextual reports for assessing the social and cultural aspects of the area where the aid worker will be deployed, and compiling general feedback found online for evaluating the perception of the public after the disaster. The worker uploads a task with a description, date due, importance, estimate work hours and skills needed. The volunteers look for a task using filters and search parameters so they can work on what suits them the best. After selecting a task, the volunteers add simple contributions like links, images, messages found in social networks and comments. The sum of all contributions makes up the task that is evaluated by the community. The most relevant contributions are highlighted and the least are eliminated or edited. After the task is completed, the worker sends a thank-you message to the volunteers and can add them to a trusted network for future assistance. This shows the volunteer their work is recognized, and how the community they are part of makes a difference. A section of the platform displays tasks by regions, current events and organizations for potential volunteers to discover how they can help. To show the passion of the community it displays testimonies from the workers and highlights successful volunteers’ stories. The project explores how new technologies have empowered citizens’ ability to respond to emergencies. Over the years, after recent major disasters, research papers and articles have been published about the role of social media and community response aided by technology. Fulcra contributes to this initiative a platform that is both rational and emotional with a visual interface for task selection, with several options for finding the right task, and that acknowledges the work of the community. The project shows how interaction design thinking can connect collective intelligence to humanitarian work.


Fulcra è una piattaforma online per operatori umanitari che permette di distribuire piccoli incarichi a una comunità di volontari attraverso il crowdsourcing. L’obiettivo del progetto è quello di attenuare il carico di lavoro nelle diverse fasi di gestione delle emergenze ed in particolare nella riduzione iniziale dei rischi, preparazione e ripresa. Le attività possono includere la compilazione di bollettini informativi sul disastro con informazioni raccolte da internet, stesura di relazioni sugli aspetti sociali e culturali della zona in cui si sta per operare, raccolta delle reazioni online per valutare la percezione del disastro da parte dell’opinione pubblica. La piattaforma permette all’operatore umanitario di pubblicare un compito con una descrizione, data di scadenza, ore stimate di lavoro, importanza e competenze necessarie per lo svolgimento. I volontari possono ricercare le mansioni utilizzando filtri e parametri di ricerca in modo da lavorare su ciò che più si addice alle loro competenze. Dopo aver selezionato un compito, i volontari contribuiscono aggiungendo commenti, link, immagini e messaggi trovati sui social networks. Ogni apporto può essere valutato dalla comunità: i contributi più rilevanti sono evidenziati, mentre i meno importanti vengono eliminati o modificati. La somma di tutti i contributi costituisce il risultato di ogni compito pubblicato. Una volta completato l’incarico l’operatore invia un messaggio di ringraziamento ai volontari coinvolti e può decidere di aggiungerli a una rete di collaboratori di fiducia per incarichi futuri. Questo processo permette di riconoscere il lavoro dei volontari e mostra quanto il loro contributo sia determinante all’interno della comunità. Una sezione della piattaforma permette di visualizzare i compiti secondo le aree, le situazioni correnti e le organizzazioni umanitarie coinvolte, in modo da permettere ai potenziali volontari di capire come poter contribuire. Il progetto esplora le possibilità dei cittadini per intervenire durante le emergenze attraverso le nuove tecnologie. Negli ultimi anni sono stati pubblicati lavori di ricerca e articoli sul ruolo dei social media e sulla risposta comunitaria in caso di grandi catastrofi. Fulcra contribuisce a questo movimento grazie ad una piattaforma razionale (funzionale) ed emotiva (coinvolgente). L’interfaccia grafica permette la selezione dei giusti compiti e il sistema riconosce l’importanza del lavoro della comunità. Questo progetto mostra come l’interaction design possa legare efficacemente intelligenza collettiva e lavoro umanitario.


Contents INTRODUCTION

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1. TECHNOLOGY AND AID RELIEF

15

2. SHAPING CONCEPTS

45

3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM

53

4. FINAL DESIGN: THE THREE PERSONAS

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5. FINAL DESIGN: DETAILS

99

CONCLUSIONS

115

Appendix: Flowcharts

119

Appendix: Screens

124

Notes

132

Acknowledgements

136

Figures

137

Sources

139

Colophon

142


Introduction The Times They Are a-Changin’. The title of this Bob Dylan song fits well the tone of my project. The year 2011 was characterized by a wave of protests across the globe. The protestors made use of social media and digital platforms to spread their message, share images and location of rallies and manifestations. The examples of citizen dissent were various and significant and include the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement; by the end of the year Time Magazine selected “The Protester” as Person of the Year for 20111. The field of humanitarian work has also been greatly affected by the information revolution of our times. Push-to-talk radios and clipboards have been replaced with mobile phones connected to the Internet. This means aid workers can be connected to their headquarters and send updates to their colleagues in real time. Citizens have been empowered with tools to broadcast their needs and report the events during an emergency using mobile technology and social networks. This has greatly increased the information available to save lives and organize better response operations, but aid workers don’t have the capacity to deal with all this information. Communities of volunteers who analyze and work with the available data have filled this gap. My project describes an application of design principles to this scenario. Fulcra was born from my research on information flow and data visualisation. I was initially interested in the challenge of filtering and visualising real time information from networks like Twitter. I found interesting problems, like trusting the overwhelming amount of information available and its reliability, that could be approached with design thinking to propose adequate solutions. Eventually I found articles and research papers on the role social networks are having on emergency response. I initially read about the same arguments: how can the information be trusted? But further research also showed how communities had benefited from them. Once I had found this niche I learned about successful stories of volunteers lending a hand using these technologies, or victims of a disaster broadcasting help to organizations using mobile phones. I found out about communities of volunteers developing software, platforms and applications ad hoc, using mobile devices and social networks as main input tools. A vibrant community that relies on crowdsourcing2 and networking is changing the role of citizens in emergency response. In this context there is a need for interaction design to improve the crowd’s efforts. Most of the platforms and applications can benefit from user interface principles, proper user experience design, userresearch and user-testing. One of the strengths of crowdsourcing and volunteer initiatives is the spontaneity in which they develop, but this can also be a weakness. The input of designers can help create design guidelines and parameters that are durable and reliable. Although I saw how interaction design could improve this movement, I still hadn’t found a specific problem to tackle with my project. The initial ideas were too broad and didn’t focus on any issue in particular.

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Eventually the following quote by Mark Prutsalis of the Sahana Software Foundation3 sparked the idea for the platform that would become my project: We heard about people in the field who ended up staying up all night doing data entry, because they did not have back office support in their own organization [...] it was incredibly frustrating to be at the other end, knowing that we could have helped. Why is someone staying up to 3am in Port-au-Prince typing contact lists?4 The quote raised enough questions to give life to a concept and as I researched more in the direction suggested I found ideas like microtasking and microvolunteering that would be combined with my project. The concept was better defined as I talked with experts, volunteers and people with experience in the field. I eventually found its definitive form with brainstorming, sketching and prototyping. Fulcra is a digital platform, accessed through the web, for aid relief organizations to crowdsource menial tasks related to information. There is not a defined list of tasks that can be done with Fulcra but examples include searching and tagging images online, creating contextual reports, small translations of text or categorizing data to a community of online volunteers. In a more general sense it’s a platform for volunteers to assist the relief effort by compiling, analysing, aggregating, translating, categorizing, sharing, distributing and verifying information. This community is a vital part of the platform; therefore, it’s important to show them their work matters and provide tools to let them find the right task. The platform is divided into five sections: Taskboard, Discover, Profile, Sign-in and About. The sections were decided in relation to what I learned from the research and from what I as a designer believe provides a solution. The Taskboard is a digital board where the small and discrete tasks deployed by aid workers are searchable by volunteers; they use search and filter parameters to find tasks they feel they can do best. In the Discover section new users who are not sure where to begin can explore how they can help. Profile is where the users and organizations control the work done. Finally Sign-in is for users to login or register. The About section quickly describes what the platform is about and how it works. Chapter 1 describes present state of technologies and aid relief, and how the approach to assistance during an emergency has changed. Several examples of initiatives, platforms and services are discussed and compared to my project. This part was important in order to understand what was out there, what has been done well and what hasn’t been so successful.

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The design process is described in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 2 is an analysis of the research and how it shaped the design. It also discusses the conversations I had with experts in the field. Chapter 3 is about how the platform was crafted. It includes brainstorming results, sketches and wireframes of the components that make up the platform. Chapters 4 and 5 describe the final design. First I explain the general user experience using a scenario to give a general impression of what the platform is able to do. Next I detail characteristics of the design that were left out in the description of the experience. It mentions how the prototype was built, the reasons for prototyping and how it would be developed technically. Finally the conclusion reassesses the design of Fulcra. It describes what I’ve learned by designing it, what can be done for future similar projects and what I would do differently or implement if I had more time. It offers my point of view of the state of crowdsourcing and emergency response assisted by volunteers. Two appendices show flowcharts of the platform and the screens not included in the descriptions of Chapters 4 and 5.

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1. Technology AND aid relief 1.1 New opportunities and players 1.2 Microvolunteering 1.3 Microtasking 1.4 Summary


1. Technology AND aid relief The role of information communication technology5 (ICT) in the different stages of disasters and humanitarian response is changing. During large-scale disasters collecting and analyzing massive volumes of data is needed in order to extract the critical information that can help save lives. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative6, a platform for research into new technologies and disaster response, suggests that ICTs can increase their relevance in these situations by making easier the communication of information in affected zones, improving the collection of data, and enriching the visualization and analysis of patterns in such data. These technologies can have an unprecedented impact on humanitarian work, especially if they are mobile. They are connected to fairly distributed and decentralized networks. If Internet communication is possible in affected areas a number of information platforms are available. For example, the Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre7 maintained by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)8 allows the communication and storage of data. This makes decision making easier for international response during times of crisis and major disasters, because the people involved can communicate in real time and exchange all the needed information. The information flow is not only one way: people independent of organizations and government, even if not present on site, can have an impact as well. One of the first examples of this shift of information flow was during the aftermath of the 2007 presidential elections in Kenya (fig. 1). Through cameras and mobile phones the violence was documented and blogged by hundreds of people. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter shifted the one-to-one traditional communication scheme to a many-to-many format, thus changing how information is transformed and delivered. Similar examples include the 2009 Iranian protests and the protesters’ use of Twitter and other social media to communicate among themselves after the national election (fig. 2). The response by tech-savvy citizens after the 2010 Haitian earthquake was another important demonstration of the power of crowdsourcing. A scenario where wireless communication and content distribution is even more accessible and present suggests a wide range of possibilities for citizens to help and inform. The role of interaction designers will be to help make the experience of exchanging information easier and more useful. The change in the communication format has improved early warning and preparation for emergencies. Valuable insights and lessons learned are found in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent report: World Disasters Report 2005: Focus on Information in Disasters (2006). This argued for better early warning systems, an international regulatory framework, and the importance of a dialogue between the victims, communities and aid workers. The most notable aspect however, is the call on agencies to focus less on gathering information and more on exchanging it. Having more communication channels and people distributing the information increases the

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chances of community members getting the necessary information to confront a disaster. The publication states that good information during a disaster is as valuable as water, food and shelter. The information might be out there but misunderstood or not taken into serious consideration, the challenge is to create well-designed communication channels to offer information that empowers victims. ICT is bridging the gaps between aid workers, victims and the general public. Public participation during a crisis response is nothing new. Usually bystanders and members of the community are the first to respond to an emergency and participate in the recovery. Technology is giving new opportunities for this involvement and broadening the scope of what citizens can contribute. The authenticity of the information remains an ongoing debate and access to technologies in countries facing crisis is not guaranteed. Another challenge is the adoption of new work frameworks, one that includes and distributes tasks to volunteers, community members and aid workers. Generally the framework includes just the aid workers, leaving out volunteers who want to assist. Despite these, the continuous rise of technological solutions and organizations that implement them can overcome the challenges mentioned.

Figure 1. The violent aftermath of the 2007 elections in Kenya prompted online efforts to denounce human rights abuses.

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Diane Coyle and Patrick Meier from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative authored a report, “New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts” (2009), in which they discuss the role of technology and social networks during different emergency relief and crisis stages. They write that new technologies such as satellite and aerial imagery don’t have verification problems and that technologies are less expensive today and more available. Most of these, however, are still used mainly by and within humanitarian agencies. The rise of digital volunteering and open communication will prompt agencies and organizations to adapt to a new scenario where the general public is more involved in emergency relief. Coyle and Meier suggest that organizations that fail to do so will leave a vacuum that will likely be filled by less reliable groups. The evolution of ICTs and emergency relief will have to merge the crowd, social networks and new technologies: “Information will make its greatest contribution to emergency relief—and therefore saving lives—if the advantages of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ information sources can be combined9.” Also worth mentioning is the need for ICTs after the emergency response. Reconstruction of a community will be easier and faster

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Figure 2. The 2009 - 2010 Iran elections have been nicknamed the Twitter Revolution because of the protesters’ use of Twitter and other social-networking Internet sites to communicate with each other.

1. TECHNOLOGY AND AID RELIEF


with proper communication technologies and infrastructure. Technological solutions used during the prevention, warning and response phases of a crisis should also be adapted to rebuilding the community. A possible use of new media and communication formats is the ease in which NGOs could communicate with the communities. The use of mobile phones, for example, could improve the distribution of resources and enhance awareness of the specific condition of the community. In a nutshell, the landscape of emergency response is changing greatly, mainly because of advances in technology and communications. It’s an area that concerns interaction design: the development of easy-to-use interfaces, and crafting dependable exchanges between people and devices.

1.1 New opportunities and players This section briefly discusses several organizations and projects that are relevant to disaster relief. Each has contributed to filling gaps such as increasing the role of the public, organizing effective technological efforts to support the response, and maximizing the use of accessible and cheap technologies like mobile phones and SMS. Ushahidi10 is a non-profit software company that specializes in open software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. The service was started in 2007 by Erik Hersman, Ory Okolloh, Juliana Rotich and David Kobia during the violent aftermath to Kenya’s presidential election, in order to collect eyewitness reports of human rights abuses via SMS and email and place them on a Google map. It relies heavily on crowdsourcing and has been viewed as a starting model for what has been called crisis mapping11. It combines social activism, citizen journalism and geographical information. The main product, also called Ushahidi (fig. 3), is a tool that crowdsources information using multiple channels. It has been used in scenarios such as the Haiti 2010 earthquake to locate people who needed resources, and during the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand to help victims locate sites where food, water and toilets were available. Victims can request help using SMS messages, Twitter or Facebook. Volunteers trace the location and place it on a map (fig. 4). Organizations such as the Red Cross can later view this map and determine where to deploy resources and people. Ushahidi has also developed platforms such as SwiftRiver12 which aims to democratize and filter real time information. The platform has multiple functions such as structuring unstructured data, conditional filtering and prioritization of content, and adding context. Ushahidi is leading a movement that is changing humanitarian work. Traditionally aid workers and journalists would report on a disaster and, based on that information, aid would be deployed (a oneto-many communication format), but today every new disaster and its subsequent response show a new format, many-to-many-to-many, increasing its presence. The people affected supply the data, while

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self-organizing volunteers translate and use the data to help organize, orchestrate or support the relief. Ushahidi proves that crowdsourcing during emergency crisis works. The functionality and effectiveness of the platform would not exist if it weren’t for a group of people constantly collecting and extracting relevant data. In the same field as Ushahidi, InSTEDD13, is a non-profit organization that designs and uses open source technology software to improve collaboration and the flow of critical information to populations at risk. It was conceived by Larry Brilliant for the “One Wish to Change the World” award at the TED Conference14 in 2006. Its aim is to provide communities with design and technology to improve their health, safety and development. It develops several tools for this, including one particularly relevant to my project, GeoChat,15 a collaboration tool for chatting, reporting and getting alerts on the phone. It links local communities in real time and simplifies communication, logistics and data reporting. The value to my project is that the application is useful from any location.

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Figure 3. Ushahidi Demo.

1. TECHNOLOGY AND AID RELIEF


It permits users to coordinate and interact despite being separated by physical distance. Cross-organizational virtual teams create a link to the headquarters and keep everyone in sync and aware of what’s going on. It can be used by community health workers in rural villages and by field workers in disaster response teams. An important feature is that a computer is not needed. A mobile phone and text messages are enough for GeoChat to work. The users send a message with their location and GeoChat places an icon on the map for other users to see. It lets users see who said what, when and where, refute or update information live from the field, visualize remote teams, and update data on a map. The tool is simple but enhances communication. Its valuable lesson is that information can give a better sense of context, thus improving the work in the field. Better-communicating teams are key for successful response operations. InSTEED have placed themselves in the middle of events like disease outbreaks and natural disasters that require fast actions. They help manage information and render it easier to understand and use. The potential of open software, crowdsourcing and collaboration with on-site organizations is starting to become central in the debate of the

Figure 4. Volunteers using the Ushahidi platform.

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humanitarian field, and InSTEDD is one of the leaders of such efforts. For accurate and life saving decisions, public health and disaster response workers need access to information such as satellite imagery, sensor data and media reports from the web. This can greatly help responders make the right decisions. Such resources are not always guaranteed despite their importance. A platform that guarantees delivery of this data could fill the gap. There are situations in which access to technology and Internet communication is scarce. Mobile telephones are one the most reliable tools for emergencies, and SMS messaging can be crucial. Voice calls may be difficult to place due to congestion but SMS messages generally work during a crisis and may be the only medium for connecting people. Several organizations have tackled the potential of mobile phones and SMS. SoukTel,16 a mobile phone-based service for reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth was cofounded by Mohammed Kilany and Lana Hijazi, two Palestinian graduates aware of the unemployment problem in developing countries. It delivers information to low-income communities on how to improve their lives. Its principles are: creative and innovative solutions for at-risk populations using current technologies. SoukTel has two services. One is JobMatch, a simple service that uses SMS and voice-menu technology to link young people to jobs, and connect agencies to people who need help. The system allows users to create mini-CVs and send them to 150 employers looking for staff. The service is used in places like Palestine where Internet access is low. It enables young people (usually graduates) to search for work by answering questions sent through text messages. These questions are later used to create a mini-CV. Through SMS messages they can receive updates on job offers. The second platform of SoukTel (one more related to my project), AidLink, was cofounded with Jacob Korenblum. This helps aid agencies send help to those who need it by sending SMS alerts to a list of community members (from local farmers to small business owners) giving personalized updates about emergencies and other events. Another mobile device based platform for disaster relief and help deployment is FrontlineSMS17 (fig. 5), started by Ken Banks in 2005. It’s a software tool for communicating with large groups of people via text messages. It turns any computer or mobile into a two-way group communication center. The only requirement is a mobile signal (the Internet is not needed, which can be a major advantage). The basic tools available to most organizations are computers and mobile phones; the software makes the most of their limited resources. Users can reach specific groups of individuals within a determined community. The uses are many and include running awareness-raising campaigns, carrying out text-based surveys or staying in touch with field workers and staff. FrontlineSMS has been used in several scenarios. One particularly relevant to my research, Voix des Kivus,18, is a crowd-seeding system

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used in Eastern Congo that uses mobile phones to obtain high-quality, verifiable, and real time information about events in remote places. Peter van der Windt and Macartan Humphreys lead this project from the Center for the Study of Development Strategies at Columbia University. In many areas of Eastern Congo atrocities go unnoticed because accessibility is hampered by poor infrastructure. The research environment is critical because fighting makes it dangerous to get close. International organizations and humanitarian NGOs have a hard time collecting information and providing assistance. Voix des Kivus was launched in 2009 to test the technical opportunities of a decentralized and representative SMS-based information system for the region. The project would evaluate the capacity of participating communities and potential users. Today it is present in 18 villages from four territories of South Kivu in Congo, a zone torn by violence and war. In each village participating in Voix des Kivus three mobile phone holders are assigned: the traditional leader, a representative of the women’s groups, and someone elected by the community. Besides the phone they have a monthly credit and a code sheet that lists possible events taking place in the village. The users don’t get paid for sending

Figure 5. FrontlineSMS interface on a HP Notebook.

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information to the system. It’s worth noticing here that users create a trusted network. Also the volunteers and leaders are trained which is common in projects like these because they are more reliable. A similar method for creating a trusted network is applied to Fulcra. Communities that participate in the project get a system that creates histories, archives testimonies, and communicates to the world the events that affect their everyday lives. Researchers in the region learn about the situation in hard-to-access areas. The works of volunteers help communities improve their condition by having a voice in the international sphere. The use of archived results for learning purposes was implemented in my platform. Users can send numeric or full text posts from almost any mobile phone. The receiving side is a standard mobile phone linked to a laptop connected to the Internet. The messages are automatically filtered and coded for content; duplicates are removed and stored in a database. Visualizations of the data such as graphs and tables are generated automatically. The messages are shown in the original language so translation is needed. The result of the project is thousands of messages that range from reports of attacks and abductions to crop diseases and flooding. The data is posted on bulletins that are sent to different organizations. The Voix des Kivus project made be considered the use of mobile devices and SMS technology for field workers and situations where Wi-Fi coverage or Internet access can be compromised. I would eventually focus the project on phases of the emergency that require Internet connection thus the idea of SMS technology wasn’t implemented, but still considered for future steps. An important aspect of Voix des Kivus is that the information sent by the villagers is considered not crowdsourcing but crowdseeding. In crowdsourcing anyone can send information to the system. Crowdseeding is more restricted because only pre-selected users can send information. The advantages depend on the goal of the system but in this case it works best because the data received comes from a representative of a determined area. The users are known and have a relationship with the project. The participation of more than one user in each village means that internal validation occurs. The result is an accumulation of valuable data from places once thought inaccessible. This showed me the importance of data verification and reliability of volunteers. Two methods to ensure this are possible. One, which is closest to how Fulcra manages its volunteers, is a registration system which gives points to users for doing a good job and deducts points or bans them when a task is completed poorly. The other is a recruiting mechanism for online volunteers. As important as it is to consider a pre-assembled online digital volunteer community, examples exist where spontaneous groups of volunteers formed and were successful in helping communities and the disaster response. During the Haiti earthquake of 2010 a free phone number (4636) allowed people via SMS to request medical care, food, water, security

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Haitian sends text requesting help to 4636

Organizations deployed the requested aid

A staff of volunteers translates the message from Kreyol into English and adds meta and geospatial information.

Volunteers create a report that includes mapping the request that goes out to multiple organizations

and shelter. The service received over 80,000 messages from people within Haiti, mostly written in Kreyòl. The translation of these, one of the most important tasks, was carried out by a group of workers and volunteers via online crowdsourcing platforms (like CrowdFlower and Samasource, both discussed later) and sorted by priority and need. This helped improve the response time of aid workers. This effort, Mission 463619 (fig. 6), was the combination of techsavvy volunteers and organizations like Ushahidi and InSTEDD. People in the field broadcast the existence of 4636 to as many Haitians as possible using mainly the radio. The online volunteers translated the incoming messages from this number (at peak volume 5,000 SMS messages were processed in one hour20) and volunteers from Ushahidi located the exact longitude and latitude of the messages. The visualization of these messages on a map allowed organizations like the Red Cross and USAID to send help and mobilize resources. The great success of this project was thanks to one of crowdsourcing’s most valuable advantages; the work capacity doesn’t have to be planned. It would have been harder to train and have ready Kreyòl speakers because in a crisis the conditions can be unpredictable and change quickly. Frameworks where a project is divided into small tasks (microtasking) makes it possible to have thousands of people around the world doing important work within days.

Figure 6. Mission 4636 workflow.

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The scenario described with the Mission 4636 example shows how new technologies have changed the communication formats. Organizations with mainly volunteer workforces are gaining more relevance in disaster response. Organizations exist where information and communication is deployed and sorted entirely by volunteers. The information is still valuable despite no control by official entities or government agencies. An example is OpenStreetMap21 (OSM), started in 2004 by Steve Coast. The OpenStreetMap organization works toward creating free and collaborative maps that can be used in humanitarian work: a kind of Wikipedia for maps. This user-generated content and map aggregation is known as collaborative mapping, and where base map data is scarce, out of date or changing (like in an emergency) these sorts of map are urgently needed. OSM creates open maps of the entire world by volunteers using GPS, digitizing aerial imagery and collecting and liberating public sources of geographic data. Volunteers sign in and can use different interfaces to edit and view the map. Some of these interfaces can be used online like Potlatch 2.0 (fig. 7), a Flash online editor that allows quick editing by dragging icons into the map and adding or editing descriptions. Other interfaces like JOSM22 work offline. JOSM is intended for much advance users because some features require a while to learn. Its interface is similar to software like AutoCAD and tutorials are suggested before using it. The overall structure of OSM is complex because it uses more than one interface. Not all interfaces perform the same tasks so users have to switch depending on what they have to do. Simplicity and convenience are priority factors in my design. An online, simple to use interface serves as a better structure for users that want to perform small tasks in ideally small increments of time.

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Figure 7. Potlatch 2.0 interface for the OSM (detail).

1. TECHNOLOGY AND AID RELIEF


One of the best examples of the usefulness of such platform was the mapping of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The Google Map of downtown Port-au-Prince was too incomplete for humanitarian response. In a matter of days, volunteers from OpenStreetMap used satellite imagery to trace roads, shelters and other features to create one of the most detailed maps of Haiti. According to the OSM website the map received 1.4 million edits during the first month following the earthquake. This would once have taken months but was done in days because hundreds of volunteers worked in parallel like processors in a supercomputer. OSM developed a microtasking manager for fast collaboration on future mapping projects to help repeat the success of the Haiti experience. The interface, where volunteers can self-assign small areas of large mapping projects to work on, uses grids to break down the project and show what regions need to be mapped (fig. 8). If the user doesn’t know where to begin, the interface includes a “take a task randomly” function that points the user to a specific cell in the grid. After selecting what section of the map to work on, the user can edit using one OSM’s available interfaces. The guiding principle of the project is quite similar to mine: crowdsourcing is used for coordinating and completing small tasks. The platform also sponsors the initiative, The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), that applies the principles of collaborative mapping to aid relief. This group coordinates and creates free mapping resources to be used during an emergency. The core team of HOT is selected by nominating candidates which gives more credibility to the platform because it’s not open to everyone. Similar to OpenStreetMap’s HOT, the Standby Task Force23 is a volunteer-led network that specializes in crisis mapping. Launched at

Figure 8. OSM task manager. Project is broken down using a grid.

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the 2010 International Conference on Crisis Mapping24 (ICCM 2010), it comprises over 150 volunteers who collect information and visualize it on interactive dynamic maps that make data analysis less complex and more intuitive. Clear comprehension of the information at hand makes the response much more effective. Divided into teams the Task Force helps by using specialized open source technologies Ushahidi and SwiftRiver. Some of the tasks include: monitoring online media reports for relevant information, finding GPS coordinates for media reports, or providing summary reports based on incoming data. It plans to include other technological means to help disaster response. Task Force volunteers are required to sign a code of conduct based on the Red Cross principles for data privacy and general conduct. This code could help solve the authenticity issue. A strong reliable base of volunteers can help guarantee the trustworthiness of exchanged information. LSSE25 (Locate, Support, Survive, Endure) by Jacek Barcikowski, Ishac Bertran and Eric Stevenson is a user interface concept: a support tool for disaster survivors, rescue teams and volunteer networks. The aim is to empower the survivors and give them the feeling that everything is going to be fine. It comprises four connected modules: LSSE Kit for the survivor, Search and Rescue Field-Tool for the rescuer, a dashboard (fig. 9) for coordination, and a volunteer support network. When a disaster hits, survivors in possession of the LSSE Kit use it to open audio and video

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Figure 9. The dashboard for the LSSE project is a tool to coordinate the communication between rescuers and survivors.

1. TECHNOLOGY AND AID RELIEF


communication with the rescuer’s Search and Rescue Field-Tool. This link makes the situation less traumatic. A network of volunteers connected to the kit give the survivor moral support. The dashboard manages the communication links between the Search and Rescue FieldTool and the LSSE Kit. This concept is similar to Mission 4636: survivors use mobile technologies to communicate with the rescue teams and volunteers during the disaster. The scenario described in LSSE hypothesizes how these technologies could benefit the rescue team; for example, direct communication can provide information about the health of the survivors or basic data like name and age.

1.2 Microvolunteering The microvolunteering trend is relevant to my project because most of these actions are done by volunteers digitally and online. The following examples helped me understand the successful practices to be applied to my project, and what I should avoid. Microvolunteering is done by a volunteer or group without receiving payment, either online, using smartphones and other Internetconnected devices, or offline. The main characteristic is that the actions require small amounts of time, so no ongoing commitment by the volunteer. The actions can be simple enough to be performed by one person or can be broken down into microtasks to be divided between several people. Examples of microvolunteering actions include transcribing documents online, reporting suspicious activity, photographing areas of the city that need to be maintained, and spreading awareness using Twitter or Facebook. Microvolunteering can be done anywhere, anytime. This benefits people who want to volunteer but can’t for lack of time: if an action can be done within 30 minutes there is no strong argument for not doing it. Most microvolunteering actions do not require training so are easy try out and the work that needs to be done is so varied that a wide range of skills are needed. Certainly most people will find something they can do well and for a cause they are passionate about. Finally it can work as a gateway to volunteering at a larger scale. One of the most popular platforms for microvolunteering is Sparked26 (fig. 10), founded by Jacob Colker and Ben Rigby for hardworking people who want to volunteer but have little time, and for organizations wanting to capitalize on the skills volunteers can provide. Nonprofits subscribed to Sparked post small challenges ranging from “can you design the new logo for our organization?” to “how can we build a hospital in Libya?” Sparked recommends these challenges to members of its community based on the skills and interests they declared when they registered. Sparked’s work relies on microvolunteering but misses some aspects that my project could supply. It’s not intended for emergency

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relief, so lacks a structure to enable field workers to outsource their work to the crowd. A design that relies on the urgency of completion could be used, something that Sparked doesn’t fully implement. Sparked’s challenges are filtered by skills and not by priority. That said, using skills as a filter for tasks offers users challenges suited for them. I added a similar feature to Fulcra: users select from a range of skills related to the types of task offered. The biggest difference; however, is that Sparked doesn’t rely mainly on microtasking. It asks users to, for example, design logos, come up with ideas for campaigns or ask for SEO27 help. These tasks require time for good results. Designing a logo may be very well done by a volunteer but not in fifteen minutes or even two hours. This is one of Sparked’s biggest weaknesses: some of the work produced by the volunteers is not of good quality. The service offers several features for creating a lasting and strong community. A volunteer page showcases the work done and view by the volunteers, thank-you notes and praise from the organizations helped. For every contribution the volunteer receives a thumbs-up that can also be viewed on his or her profile. This system creates trust among the community and its principle could very well be applied to my design.

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Figure 10. Sparked offers volunteers diverse challenges to do online.

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BrightWorks28 (fig. 11) is a web platform and mobile application for charities to get projects and tasks completed for free by a group of online volunteers. Bright One, a volunteer-run communications agency, created the service. It has a similar premise to Sparked: small tasks are given to volunteers who want to contribute a charity or cause. Visually the application shows the whole project, the challenges that make up the project, and the tasks to be completed. Volunteers can choose one task and cooperate in the completion of a project. It’s visual structure breaks down the project into parts and at the same time shows the common goal as a whole. But the service has a poor tracking system: it shows if a user is doing a task but doesn’t show the progress; therefore, a task could be done more than once. Another aspect that could be improved is the interaction between the organization and the volunteer. When volunteers click on a task they find short descriptions with an email contact. This is not ideal. Volunteers have to be in contact first with the organization; they usually have a lot to do, so answering emails can take a while. It will take time to explain the task as well. A system with more automated options would work much better. For example, if the task requested is the design of a flyer, the system could provide the information and materials for downloading. The service has few constrains and allows the organizations to post anything; this is not a benefit because they can post complex tasks, job descriptions or requests for donors. This turns the service into more a reactive message board than a microvolunteering platform.

Figure 11. Detail of the visual interface of BrightWorks.

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Do Some Good29 is an application developed by Orange, a mobile network operator, under the premise “lots of small actions can have a big impact”. As of February 2012 is available only in the UK and permits users to perform five-minute or less volunteer tasks. The application has a limited list of actions that include multilingual translation of how-to guides to help people in developing countries, donating images to an online image bank for charities, tagging places that need trees (fig. 12), and pitching ideas for improving the community. This application, uniquely, rewards the volunteers. A music reward system, Orange RockCorps, allows them to collect points via actions and exchange them for concert tickets and VIP access. Rewards may compromise the idea of, but should be considered as a motivation tool. InSTEDD has developed a tool called TaskMeUp30 (fig. 13), that works like the examples of microtasking mentioned before. It’s a tool for finding small tasks and completing them for nonprofit organizations. It posts these tasks, known as “challenges,” with a description of the skills needed. It also shows the tasks that have been completed and those still to be tackled. A unique feature of this platform is the possibility to invite people to participate in the challenge, thus involving more people and creating a community. It also permits users to post the challenge on Facebook or Twitter. It thus broadcasts the task and increases the chances of having it done. In general TaskMeUp works smoothly because of its simple and easy-to-use interface. It could; however, improve some visual aspects such as hierarchy and searching for challenges. Currently users can only search by skill, not by location, cause or organization. TaskMeUp could be used for emergencies but features that make field workers and volunteers work together would be needed to make it useful and efficient. Although the website is running the platform doesn’t seem to be active. I first checked the website on October 2011 and returned on February 2012, in four months the tasks and the input by the volunteers hadn’t change.

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Figure 12. Citizens using the Do Some Good app take pictures and tag places that need trees.

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Microvolunteering’s principles are adaptable and offer a wide range of benefits for the organizations using it. The key aspects are brevity and simplicity. The following two examples are not traditional microvolunteering examples but share aspects related to it. Kiva31 is a nonprofit organization that connects people through loans that alleviate poverty (fig. 14). Its worth noting for two reasons: shows how small efforts accumulate to make a big difference and it connects contributors to the cause they are helping. Users donate money through the website which then goes to microfinancing services near the beneficiaries of the loan. The money donated can be as little as $25, but if 100 people all donate even a small amount of money it funds a loan to farmers or workers in a developing country to help their small business or startup. Afterwards the donor has three options: the loan can be repaid, the money (Kiva credit) can be used to help another person or the donor can choose to receive the money back. The platform has a simple design and enables people who want to lend money meet the people they are helping. The approach is as transparent as it can be by showing the reason for funding, the amount still needed, and which microfinancing organization is giving out the loan. This approach, bringing together donors and the people they are helping, engages the donors and lets them visualize the impact of their help. Kiva recruits volunteers for translating into English requests of the people who need the funding. Potential translators volunteer via the Kiva website, stating their language skills and how much time they are willing to commit. After this information is reviewed, the Kiva recruitment team sends a translation test to be completed within

Figure 13. Task Me Up interface.

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two weeks. Once the test is completed the team determines if the person is right for the job. This process limits the volunteers but improves the quality of their work. OpenIDEO32 (fig. 15), finally, shares characteristics relevant to my project and to some of the platforms discussed earlier in this section. Participants of this platform build upon each other’s ideas and help develop solutions for global problems. IDEO posts a design challenge that goes through three phases: inspiration, conception and evaluation. Throughout the process users participate in different ways, like providing feedback, posting inspirational images or sketching ideas. The process is led by IDEO’s designers who encourage and moderate the conversation. The strongest concepts are selected and hopefully brought to life outside OpenIDEO. Two aspects relevant to OpenIDEO’s success are giving the community enough freedom to find a solution to the challenge posted and having leaders in the platform to guide the conversation. These are principles that I have applied in my own design. Also, the platform has an emotional tone that can inspire people to contribute. It encourages users to be visual when they contribute and offers images related to the challenge that help explain the problem.

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Figure 14. Kiva shows who benefits from the donation.

1. TECHNOLOGY AND AID RELIEF


Figure 15. OpenIDEO’s platform uses visual elements to explain the challenge and inspire the users.

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1.3 Microtasking Microvolunteering can be paired with microtasking as a resourceful approach to completing a complex or large project. For example, it’s a good way to organize a difficult task or distribute work efficiently. Microtasking is breaking down a project into lengthy lists of small tasks (fig. 16), basic actions simplified as much as possible. Typical microtasks can be completed in less than 30 minutes and ideally in less than 10. For microtasks to be useful they have to be well defined. The best way to break down a project into microtasks is to arrange a list of small tasks in sequential order. Each item should be as clear as possible, so it’s good to start each item with a verb. This suggests action, not just pondering ideas. Complicated tasks should be broken down as much as possible. This allows people to visualize where their actions are going to take them without worrying too much about the wider picture. Microtasking allows people with diverse skills and backgrounds to collaborate on the same project. Technology bridges the distance between collaborators, makes the organization of a project easier, and provides sets of tools like wireless communication, instant messaging and open documents for collaborative editing and writing. Several companies use microtasking as the force behind their main service. In 2009 four Finnish entrepreneurs founded Microtask33 (fig. 17), a for-profit platform that focuses on digital labour. Tasks such as audio transcription or typing hand written forms into a computer require time and are boring. So, Microtask offers companies a service in which they can outsource these duties. The tasks are broken down into little tasks and sent to an online workforce. Each worker completes a tiny assignment that is later sent back with the several other tiny assignments to make up the whole task.

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Figure 16. A project is broken in small tasks completed in parallel by individuals.

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Microtask shares characteristics with my project but the main difference is its for-profit nature. The most relevant feature is a tracking system for each task, which shows the visual progress of each small task. Similar to Microtask, CrowdFlower34 (fig. 18) is a platform that sends a large project and has it analyzed and broken down. The project is separated into small tasks easy enough for anyone with a computer to do them. The system has different workflows that are used according to what is needed. Quality is monitored in real time and controlled for spam and inaccuracies. CrowdFlower is an example of the power of crowdsourcing and the usefulness of simple tasks during emergencies. An important contribution was its participation in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, where its technology routed text messages to the aid workers and got them translated. The average time, according to the CrowdFlower website, to translate, map, geocode and categorize a text was less than two minutes once the CrowdFlower technology was implemented.

Figure 17. Microtask is a forprofit company that splits tasks into small units to digital workers across the globe. Figure 18. CrowdFlower, like Microtask, breaks down large projects into small tasks completed by online workers.

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The multinational electronic commerce company Amazon has its own microtasking platform. Amazon Mechanical Turk35 (MTurk) works as an online crowdsourcing platform for computer programmers (known as “Requesters”) to use human intelligence for tasks that computers can’t do. These programmers post tasks (“Human Intelligence Tasks or HITS”) such as writing product descriptions or identifying artists on music albums. The people doing these tasks (“Providers”) browse a list of tasks and complete them in return of payment set by the Requester (fig. 19). The interface is informative but visually not very appealing. The display of tasks could be made more intuitive. It could for example, make some aspects stand out more and substitute some of the text with visual elements. In some cases the Requesters ask for specific skills and might test the provider before giving the task. The Requester may also reject the task, something which will be seen in the Provider’s reputation. The platform has been criticised as a virtual sweatshop due to the low pay (1 cent approximately for task) and repetitive labour; however, people who choose to work on this platform determine their own hours and can reject work they don’t want to do. The platform, like many others already discussed, tests beforehand if a person is suitable for the microtask. This slows the microtasking but helps to verify the information, which is important.

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Figure 19. Amazon Mechanical Turk’s interface is not the best visually but provides the information needed to start a task.

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Samasource36 works similar to Microtask, CrowdFlower and MTurk but is nonprofit. Its mission is to bring dignified, computerbased work opportunities to people living in poverty. Samasource believes that by empowering people as producers of goods and services their poverty can be alleviated. The organization trains workers (fig. 20) to provide data entry, digitization, and content moderation, among other services that can be outsourced. The work is broken down into smaller units and distributed to these workers. The online workforce is made up of 1,600 workers from across Haiti, India, Kenya, Uganda and includes people living in refugee camps. It’s important to note that Samasource doesn’t use the term microtask but rather “microwork” (smallest possible task in a digital assembly line). A term coined by its founder Leila Chirayath Janah in 2008. It provides direct income to people at a fraction of the cost of a traditional aid programme and develops skills that will enable them to succeed in the economy. Microtasks can be incorporated into daily activities and online is one of the best contexts for doing this. Probably the best example of this combination is reCAPTCHA37. CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a test to prove that a given response was produced by a person. A computer can generate and evaluate the test but can’t answer them; therefore, any correct answer is assumed to be given by a human. The reCAPTCHA service uses this to digitalize books and protect websites from spambots38. Acquired by Google in 2008, its current aim is to digitalize the archives of the New York Times and Google Books. The works are scanned but in some cases the translation of scanned images of typewritten and handwritten into machine-encoded text (Optical Character Recognition or OCR) fails.

Figure 20. Samasource trainees learn computer-related skills. With these skills they work via the Internet providing outsourcing services.

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Humans can understand the scanned images that are unreadable by the OCR. The service reCAPTCHA microtasks the process of book digitalization by enabling websites to use the unreadable words in form of CAPTCHAs. People accessing these sites decipher the CAPTCHAs and digitalize a small portion of a text. This service has been successful because it’s integrated to daily life. It’s common step during the creation of an online account of almost any service (fig. 21). The system pairs each new word that it cannot read with a word it already knows. The user reads both words and if they solve correctly the answer already known, the system assumes the new word is also correct. The same new word is given to other people in other to determine with higher confidence if it was correct. This form of validating data generated by the users might be inconvenient for an emergency response but peer evaluation could be applied instead. According to its creators the service’s word accuracy exceeds 99% and matches the precision of professional human transcribers. It’s used in more than 40,000 Web sites and has transcribed over 440 million words. This microtask takes only seconds to perform but adds up to many human work hours:

Figure 21. To protect websites from spambots a user must complete a CAPTCHA to prove the authenticity of the request.

The rate of transcription currently exceeds 4 million suspicious words per day, which is equivalent to about 160 books per day. Achieving this rate via conventional “key and verify” means (without aid from OCR, so every word in a text would be typed) would require a workforce of more than 1500 people deciphering words 40 hours per week (assuming an average rate of 60 words per minute)39.

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Similar to reCAPTCHA, Digitalkoot40 is a collaboration between the National Library of Finland and Microtask to index the library’s archives so they can be searched online. The platform consists of two games: Mole Bridge (fig. 22) and Mole Hunt. Both games rely on recognition mechanisms. The players are shown an original image of a word that the OCR software couldn’t recognize. They have a couple of seconds to either type the word or check the accuracy. Over the first month of its launch the program completed over 2 million individual tasks that sum to 1,700 hours of work. The main difference between reCAPTCHA and Digitalkoot is that the latter is fun. The games are similar to popular titles like Lemmings41. They can engage the user for hours and at the same time digitalize books that help preserve Finnish cultural heritage. Tasks are not only broken down but also combined with games. Finnish writing uses several characters hard to find or missing on non-Finnish keyboards so not everyone can participate, but the platform successfully integrates with existing social networks like Facebook and Twitter and includes achievement and recognitions that can be shared with friends.

Figure 22. Mole Bridge is a game by Digitalkoot that combines gaming and microtasking.

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1.4 Summary My research on the services and platforms just discussed was used to determine the characteristics later applied to my design. Among the lessons learned were the impact volunteers helping with technology in disaster relief had, dealing with the authenticity and quality of the work done by users, valuing the different types of user interfaces and user experience approaches, and the importance of leaders within these platforms. Andrea Tapia et al., in “Seeking the Trustworthy Tweet: Can Microblogged Data Fit the Information Needs of Disaster Response and Humanitarian Relief Organizations� (2009), discuss microvolunteering, microtasking, and the role of crowdsourcing and crowd participation. In general, they believe that the information citizens can provide is valuable but unverifiable and untrustworthy. Even though the information lacks verification the authors and the organizations interviewed for the research believe crowd interventions in disaster responses can have a positive impact. The challenge is to incorporate citizen-participant mechanisms into the decision-making process. The authors suggest three possible solutions. The first is a bounded environment for social networks like Twitter, here the information is more reliable but the flow of information is limited. Second is using information from social networks as ambient or contextual data. Although less reliable than the first solution it enhances the official information gathered from the organizations. The third and last solution is a computational one where computers verify, analyze and extract the data. This solution is the most promising, according to the authors, but still requires progress. For my final design I have combined the first two solutions proposed by the authors to my platform. This chapter has shown that platforms that share similar goals vary greatly in their user interfaces. The language of interaction is quite different in each example. The proof that the design can be challenging is that several of these platforms require training or experience. The designs I see as the most functional are those that are simple, intuitive and to the point. Good user interface design is missing in several of the examples shown, which is something I aimed to change with my project. Reviewing the projects and using some of them helped me begin to shape the user profile that best fits Fulcra. I identified the most common tones used for motivating people to volunteer as well as those for keeping people interested in participating. This insight was valuable to design the community experience of my platform. To conclude I’ve mapped Fulcra with all the projects discussed (opposite page). Fulcra is influenced by microtasking and shares its principles but it shares more characteristics with microvolunteering.

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NON-PROFIT Sparked

Ushahidi Mission 4636

FULCRA TaskMeUp

LSSE

InSTEDD FrontlineSMS

BrightWorks

Do Some Good

SoukTel

OpenStreetMap

Digitalkoot reCAPTCHA

MICROTASKING

MICROVOLUNTEERING

Samasource

Amazon Mechanical Turk CrowdFlower Microtask

FOR-PROFIT

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2. Shaping concepts 2.1 Crowdsourcing principles 2.2 Building a community


2. Shaping concepts The research described in the last chapter helped me understand the current state of technology, online volunteer communities and their involvement with aid relief. The rise of online volunteer action and the importance of integrating it with official aid relief is relevant and proof of it is how it has been documented on reports and articles. One part of this research showed me what was out there, and another gave me insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by this combination of new technologies and online communities. Organizations that participate in aid relief are somewhat sceptical because they are not sure if they can always rely on the volunteers; however, the examples I found of successful volunteer efforts show that the crowd is ready to help. The testimonies and examples of these volunteer efforts suggest that online communities can make a difference. The research also played an important part in developing the design. While reading and finding out about the current state of emergency response, the design concepts emerged which were later defined by sketching and prototyping. The design was pushed by the research (fig. 23). Reading about different events gave me a wide picture of what is going on, what were the most successful volunteer efforts and where there are gaps. My initial idea was first discussed with people who had experience of open platforms like Ushahidi and other volunteering initiatives. This gave me a better understanding of what can be done and set up before assigning volunteers to an emergency. Some tasks done by volunteers can’t be used by organizations because they need to be done by a skilled and trusted worker. This means there are two levels of information: one on which anyone can work and another that requires a higher level of verification. Volunteers can achieve a status that grants them a higher verification level but my platform is more open. Therefore it was important to determine what sort of task requires only a low level of verification. Organizations can grant more responsibilities to volunteers if they can trust them. An important challenge, therefore, was creating a strong enough community to deliver quality work. This general overview of information access pushed me to think of a self-regulating community that can reward those who work honestly and report any abuse. The idea of a community that regulates itself suggested including a feedback mechanism in the platform. I discussed implementing feedback to this sort of platform with Anahi Ayala Iacucci, cofounder of the Standby Task Force, the online volunteer community for crisis mapping. She highlighted that it’s vital for volunteers to work as quickly as possible in emergencies. If one volunteer can perform the task and another can evaluate it at the same time the task can be done fast and with higher quality and more reliability. Implementing this idea could give my platform a “super processor” value. Several people could work in parallel on the same problem just like processors in a computer. I imagined at this point a platform with a structure that relied mostly on keeping track of tasks and showing how much progress had been done.

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2.1 Crowdsourcing principles Learning about projects driven by crowdsourcing and about the theory itself helped me conceptualise the platform. Jeff Howe’s Crowdsourcing (2008) details the power of crowds and describes several successful initiatives. Howe is credited as the person who coined the term crowdsourcing and his book details its rules. I identified the rules and characteristics that might be applied to Fulcra and kept them in mind for the design. A central principle is that groups have more knowledge than individuals. Working collectively taps into the wisdom of a crowd. Howe’s book and the examples found on the superiority of crowd wisdom in James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds (2004) helped me define how this collective intelligence could be used in Fulcra. My platform was designed to use the collective intelligence that results from the combination of people with different qualities to accomplish a common goal. According to Howe collective intelligence is optimal for problemsolving. In a crowdsourced network someone shares a problem and a group of potential solvers receives it and tries to work it out. For example, a common form of collective intelligence found online is the suggestion and comment box. Howe also describes a more open-ended form of problem-solving, the idea jam: a “massive, online brainstorming session that takes place over the course of weeks instead of hours42”. This example of collective intelligence can be useful for emergency relief.

Figure 23. I took notes on the papers I read. As I wrote them I would also jot down ideas that would eventually help me conceptualize the platform.

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Jan Davis and Robert Lambert’s guide for relief workers Engineering in Emergencies (2002) details how to carry out the different stages and challenges of an emergency. One way is using brainstorming during assessment and planning as a technique for collecting and analysing information. Involving the crowd in brainstorming sessions and starting idea jams can provide information, insight and points of view that could be missed by relief workers. For example, if relief workers need to understand and learn about the local cultural context and general legal overview, insight from local people would be useful. Besides collective wisdom, crowds are also good at judging and organizing large quantities of information. To ensure quality over quantity, Fulcra users can decide what contributions are most relevant and useful and discard those less practical. I kept this in mind when designing the interface; the main objective was to give users the proper means to evaluate their peers’ work. One important challenge for the platform is to find the right people for the job. According to Howe, “the most important component to a successful crowdsourcing effort is a vibrant, committed community43”. To accomplish this aspect, Howe suggests to give incentives and motivations. Fulcra is for people who feel like donating some of their time for a social cause but don’t have time to volunteer on-site. They can explore different ways of finding the job that suits them best. I defined several search and filter parameters to find motivations and incentives in the platform and determined a set of skills needed to accomplish a task properly. After completing a task it’s necessary to keep the volunteers interested by offering the right incentives. These include meeting new people who think like you, learning something new, and most importantly feeling that your work means something and that you are rewarded for it. In volunteering it’s natural not to expect material rewards but simple recognition of the volunteers’ efforts and showing what the work means can motivate them to continue participating. The platform is designed for volunteers but it’s essential to provide this community with moderators. In this case the moderators would be aid relief organizations. It was necessary to design aspects of the platform in which the organizations can interact with the community and if necessary inspire and guide them. One of the most important aspects of the platform that accords with the crowdsourcing principles is that tasks should be broken down into the smallest units possible. The tasks in Fulcra are broken down in contribution categories (this is further explain in the chapter). Judging other volunteer’s tasks also doesn’t require much time. Crowdsourcing was not born with the rise of the Internet, and the role of a community during an emergency is not recent; however, current communications and technology create an environment for these to grow and achieve ambitious goals. Crowdsourcing is useful because it works within a network (like the Internet) that multiplies information fast and effortlessly. Information can be spread easily from communities to aid organizations and vice versa.

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2.2 Building a community: the volunteers The rigid metaphor of a supercomputer fuelled by humans can devalue the human aspects of volunteering. Online volunteering already makes the experience more impersonal and gives a less fulfilling firsthand experience than working on the field with other people. This set me thinking about what it meant to be part of a community of online volunteers. A conversation with Haiyan Zhang of OpenIDEO was instrumental in bringing out these aspects. It was also important to discuss and learn about volunteers. A Skype conversation with Andrés Valenciano, who worked at Habitat for Humanity44 as the International Volunteer Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, gave me useful cues on how to design the platform’s interactions with the community. Several aspects are similar to the characteristics for successful crowdsourcing described in the preceding subsection. On a general level it is important to make the volunteers feel that their work makes a difference. The desire to learn something new is a motivation for volunteering. Additionally, the experience allows them to meet new people and participate in different social circles. Organizations that work with volunteers try to keep them interested and updated by showing them other ways they can help like making donations or inviting other people to participate, or by giving them resources so they can inform others. “Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially” (2008) by Dan Ariely, Anat Brachat and Stephan Meier examines image motivation as the driving behaviour of doing good: It is useful to understand and apply how to reward user’s actions and give them the means to showcase their work. The paper shows how people will act more generously and prosocially in public than in private. If the image of the action can be perceived as positive then volunteering is done with greater effort: “People want to be seen as doing good; without extrinsic incentives, an observer will attribute the prosocial act to one’s good trait which motivates people to behave prosocially45”. If people are perceived to be doing volunteer work because they gain more for themselves then it’s likely that the effort won’t be as great. These extrinsic incentives are more likely to be counter-productive, especially if they are public. It helped me greatly to understand and see the passion behind online volunteer groups. I went to the first Crisis Camp in Italy, held at Bologna46. A crisis camp according to the website crisiscommons. org is a “barcamp event, which seeks to connect a global network of volunteers who use creative problem solving and open technologies to help people and communities in times and places of crisis47”. The overall theme was that citizens could have a new role during a crisis, and discussion focused on creating specialized volunteers. It was also discussed how information on social media like posts and messages regarding a disaster can be less emotional and more informative. For example, pictures taken by citizens of a natural disaster can be of use to aid workers if geodata48 like location and time is included.

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Most organizations that work with volunteers have defined the characteristics and traits of the people they look for in a volunteer. The importance of technologies in the platform suggested what type of volunteer profile is the most compatible. I defined main and secondary volunteer profiles that were used for creating personas49 (fig. 24) and placed them in scenarios (described later to give a sense of the experience of the platform). The characteristics of the main profile included feeling comfortable with new technologies and social media and using at least two of them daily: someone who can use the Internet as a tool for different purposes like activism. The volunteers who best fit this profile are students and young professionals. The characteristics of the secondary profile would be someone with enough experience to quickly pick up and learn about new online services and platforms: For example, someone from a generation who was never raised with the Internet or personal computers but can use Twitter or an iPhone without problems. Finally I determined the profile of the aid worker. Official aid relief organizations working with online communities and volunteers are still new. The aid relief worker suitable for my platform believes the crowd is reliable, and will increase its role in emergencies; therefore, it’s better to include and guide them than marginalize them. Before starting to design the platform I studied principles and guidelines found in existing platforms’ and applications’ user interfaces. A good example is using some characteristics of the UI of email applications. All the design is my own but I adopted these guidelines because they work with the users. It is necessary to continue (to some extent) graphic and interaction habits already learned by the user. One challenge is to integrate the platform into existing social media platforms and applications and not isolate it by making it too complicated.

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Joyce the volunteer 2.0 primary persona Location: Portland, OR. United States Age: 26 Occupation: Journalist student Interests: Reading Noam Chomsky, volunteering Joyce is computer savvy and wildly curious. She’s constantly learning and keeping herself updated on what’s going on around her. Feels frustrated and impotent when she can’t help as much as she would like. Has several devices connected to the Internet and finds that social media can be used as an activist tool.

We live in times were social media can help save lives and ignite people to demand real change.

Ryan the self-taught technologist secondary persona Location: Berlin, Germany Age: 40 Occupation: Film critic Interests: Juggling, beat poetry He has good knowledge and experience with technology, especially web and mobile, but they are not the tools he uses the best and most frequently. He has enough experience to quickly pick up new online services and platforms.

The Internet is the best place to find initiatives and organizations that need volunteers.

Martin the inside connection secondary persona Location: Tegucigalpa, Honduras Age: 57 Occupation: Aid relief coordinator Interests: Cycling, Star Wars fan fiction writing Has experience in the field but also has worked in offices and knows the administrative side. Believes communities (online and on-site) in an emergency have shifted towards a more participatory role. The right path is to include them in official relief efforts.

Citizens are always ready to help us out and we should embrace that, because it benefits us greatly.

Figure 24. Personas.

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3. sketching the platform 3.1 First steps 3.2 Wireframes 3.2.1 Initial wireframes 3.2.2 Second wireframes 3.3 Functions and behaviours 3.3.1 Taskcards and Taskboard 3.3.2 Single-task view 3.3.3 Reviewing the work 3.3.4 How to create a task 3.3.5 Profile and Discover pages 3.4 Icons 3.4.1 Task icons 3.4.2 Contribution icons 3.5 Name and logo


3. Sketching the platform 3.1 First steps Brainstorming (fig. 25) and sketching (fig. 26) were the next logical steps after the research. Brainstorming helped me explore quickly the different possibilities of designing the user interface and conceptualizing what I had learned and discovered into a whole experience. Bill Buxton’s Sketching User Experiences (2007) outlines key elements of sketching. Sketching helps evoke, suggest, explore, question, propose and provoke the design problem50. It allowed me to have a broad picture of what I wanted to design. Sketching the platform helped me try different layouts and ways of distributing the elements of each part of the platform (figures 27-28). It was useful for combining and setting the proper hierarchy of information and shifting in diverse positions the flow of communication. It helped me explore initial questions like: What is the most important piece of information the user has to see first? How can the user explore and search for tasks? How can the combined knowledge of users be aggregated? What sort of tasks can be done with the platform? During the research phase the main aspects and functions of the platform were thought of at a conceptual level but it was not until the sketching started that the platform started to take form.

3.2 Wireframes 3.2.1 First wireframes After sketching the platform I created wireframes51 with simple layouts of text and icons. The tasks were laid out on a basic grid that divided them, the Taskboard. The main objective was to start defining the levels of information proposed in the sketching phase. These first wireframes formed a rigid structure for the tasks to be displayed. They showed a description of the job, if the task was divided into smaller units of work, the current state of the task (if there was still work going on), what skills were needed and what tags were related to it (fig. 29). I originally thought of having one large task that could be divided into smaller units. I was not convinced by this method of dividing the work and would later try different ways for users to explore and work on tasks. Several main principles of the platform were first designed in these wireframes. For instance, the tasks had descriptions of what was to be done and icons for the information relevant to each task, like how much time is left. Icons were initially used here and were applied throughout the rest of the platform. I named the graphical element that holds all this information with Taskcard. The layout changed a lot with new sketches and versions, but the first wireframe raised enough design questions. The layout displayed the first draft of icons. These were the simplest of all those I designed. Although the final icons don’t resemble

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3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


the first wireframe icons’ style they showed how useful for organizing the information is the use of pictograms. Icons make learning the functions of the platform easier. With this wireframe I implemented aspects of information design and data visualization. When viewing and selecting a task (Single-task view) I integrated the progress bar into the information display (fig. 30). The initial idea was to have a dashboard that updated itself in real time. I also started to use patterns and colour codes for identifying work done and work in progress. In the single view for each task I started to approach how to design the interface for users to work and contribute (fig. 31). A contribution by a user could be commented on for improvement. The comments were displayed as speech bubbles with Agree and Disagree

Figure 25. I brainstormed possible functions and interactions that were later sketched in diagrams and quick flow maps. Figure 26. Sketching helped give the project shape from the first visualisations of interfaces to the user’s journey.

55


buttons. This design was not pushed any further but the principle of users agreeing or disagreeing with other users’ comments was kept. My initial research showed that an important aspect not found in most existing services and platforms is making the users feel part of a community, of something bigger than themselves. I wanted a section where the volunteers could feel part of a community and see the impact of their work. The Profile page was first designed with the impact of the volunteer’s work in mind. My first proposals were conventional and grouped together the volunteers who had worked together (fig. 32). This didn’t show the impact of the volunteer’s work. It resembled more something found on a social media platform. The Profile page would be further explored in future drafts.

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Figures 27-28. During the sketching I explored individual elements of the UI as well as rough drafts for the wireframes.

3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


CrowdHelp

Search

Sort by: Urgency Find out anything you can from Léogâne, Haiti. Find the best maps you can find, identify potential targets, where are the large building, hospitals, shopping, create lists, and GPS coordinates.

Translate health bulletins from English to Spanish.

Write down a list of contacts on Microsoft Excel.

Total number of tasks: 6

Total number of tasks: 2

Total number of tasks: 1

2 Missing

Skills required: - none

1 Missing

1 Ongoing

Tags: Report, geotag, search, maps

1 Ongoing

3 Complete

1 Ongoing

Skills required: - Profficiency in spanish

Skills required: - knowledge of Excel Tags: excel, typing

Tags: translation, spanish

Create a secondary report on Haiti based on what can be found on the internet and social media.

Curate and post relevant tweets regarding the tragedy in New Zealand.

Translate from English to French the principles on this manifest.

Total number of tasks: 6

Total number of tasks: 3

Total number of tasks: 1

2 Missing

Skills required: - none

2 Missing

Skills required: - none

1 Ongoing

Tags: Report, geotag, search, maps

1 Ongoing

Tags: twitter, curate

3 Complete

Popular tags:

Geotag

Needed skills:

Spanish profficiency

Report

Translation

1 Ongoing

Skills required: - Profficiency in spanish Tags: translation, french

Social Media

French profficiency

Task: Find out anything you can from Léogâne, Haiti. Find the best maps you can find, identify potential targets, where are the large building, hospitals, shopping, create lists, and GPS coordinates.

To Do:

Sort by: Pending

Find maps

Remaining Time: 00:17:15 / 00:30

Identify large buildings

Remaining Time: 00:22:32 / 00:30

Locate Hospitals

User 5 is working on it

Locate shopping spots

Task completed by User 2

Create lists

Task completed by User 3

Find GPS coordinates

Task completed by User 4

The first draft of the main view of the platform was a basic wireframe that displayed most of the information using text. The icons weren’t as prominent and colour, patterns or shading weren’t fully considered. The most valuable aspect of the first draft of wireframes was to start to give form to the input and concepts from the research and sketching phases. The first idea for the platform divided the role of the users into two: users who work on tasks and those who evaluate. The first proposals of the platform show how users could choose between jobs or simply evaluate a task. The interface showed meta data about the tasks like the amount of feedback it had received so far from other users

Figure 29. First layout possibilities for displaying the tasks and the temporary name CrowdHelp. Figure 30. Keeping track of time and who works on what gave users incentives about where to help and avoided work being repeated.

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Task: Find out anything you can from Léogâne, Haiti. Find the best maps you can find, identify potential targets, where are the large building, hospitals, shopping, create lists, and GPS coordinates.

To Do:

Sort by: Pending

Find maps

Remaining Time: 00:17:15 / 00:30

Description: Map for Léogane.

Can you include the source? Can you tell us when the map was published and by who? Agree

Ignore

Tags: map

User Name My network:

Task completed together: Situational report for Haiti

Task completed together: Translation of bulletins in Spanish

Task completed together: Geolocation of hospitals

Task completed together: Translation from French to English

View thanks from NGO

View thanks from NGO

View thanks from NGO

View thanks from NGO

and how many times had it be worked on. Users would be encouraged to participate in tasks that had received little contribution and evaluate the tasks that had received little feedback. I had decided the number of users per task should be limited. This idea was discarded, mainly because it restricted how the crowd participated. How the crowd will work can’t be predicted and restricting so much how it can participate is likely not to work. Howe states: Yes, communities need a decider […] But in the end, as Yochai Benkler noted in the context of Linus Torvalds, the dictator’s authority is moral and persuasive, not absolute. You can try to guide the community, but ultimately you’ll wind up following them52.

3.2.2 Second wireframes

Figure 31. The basic guidelines for other users to contribute and add to others’ work were quite simple and didn’t really consider what would happen if a lot of people contributed. Figure 32. The first profile section only grouped the users together and missed showing the impact the volunteer can have.

After laying out the first interface concept in the first wireframes I started to design a second version that would more resemble the final design. The main structure and function of the platform was mostly defined in these second wireframes although the distribution and hierarchy of the task information changed greatly. The individual layout of each Taskcard first handled small amounts of information but as I progressed with the design the need for adding levels of informa-

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MY TASKS

TASKBOARD

PROFILE

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TASKS SORT BY

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Task created by OCHA. NOV.

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Task due 12/11/2011 21:00 GMT +1

4 feedback comments have been left so far

SOCIAL MEDIA

SEARCH

REPORT

GEOTAG

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful. (...more)

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents.

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We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We would like to compile a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

We have a couple of reports that need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find.

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tion became more evident. This led me to design buttons within the Taskcards and adding a flip53 as a user interface behaviour (fig. 33). Clicking on a card makes them “flip” and show more information on its reverse. Also in this wireframe but omitted in future drafts was the feedback icon on the Taskcard. It indicated the amount of replies and comments added by the community. The reasons for it are shown later in this chapter. An important phase in this process was defining the steps a user would need to take before going to a selected task. Some elements that were added in the wireframes were unnecessary steps. The clearest example was the Go to Task button. Adding this link was redundant and the go-to-link function could be accessed by clicking on the text of the task. Laying out the whole platform in these terms was important for spotting these redundant steps. Not only were the Taskboard and Taskcards redefined but also the Single-task view (fig. 34). The main challenge was creating an environment where users could contribute to a specific task in an uncomplicated manner. I started to establish with this wireframe that the tasks

REPORT

GEOTAG

Figure 33. Wireframe for the Taskboard general view with the first Taskcard flipped. It shows more information related to the task.

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TASKBOARD

MY TASKS

PROFILE

SIGN UP

Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs. NOV

PRIORITY

12

12/11/2011 21:00 GMT +1

SOCIAL MEDIA

TRANSLATE

RETRIEVE

CATEGORIZE

HIDE FEEDBACK & NOTES

LINKS Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns

The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned.

2

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged

If these conditions prevail heavy flooding is anticipated. Most of the water reservoirs and tanks in the area are full to over flowing.

! PHOTOGRAPHS

People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador. Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue

1

2

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones.

1

TWITTER Farmamundi brinda atención sanitaria a las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0 COFCoruna COFC 2 days ago

1

NOTES COF Coruña Twitter translation to English.

1

Figure 34. Wireframe for Single-task view. It displays the task after the user selected it.

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3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


TASKBOARD

MY TASKS

PROFILE

SIGN UP

CLOSE

Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American ADD PHOTOGRAPH floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs. TITLE LINK PRIORITY

NOV

12

12/11/2011

DESCRIPTION

21:00 GMT +1

SOCIAL MEDIA

TRANSLATE

RETRIEVE

CATEGORIZE

FROM COMPUTER (OPEN...)

HIDE FEEDBACK & NOTES

LINKS Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns

The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned.

2

SUBMIT

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged

If these conditions prevail heavy flooding is anticipated. Most of the water reservoirs and tanks in the area are full to over flowing.

! PHOTOGRAPHS

People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador. Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones.

deployed to the community belong to an information-related category, 1 Figure 35. 1 2 so the set of skills needed to accomplish them can be numbered and Wireframe for Singletask view plus pop-up identified. TWITTERThe tasks were broken down into four contribution categoscreen. ries: images, tweets, links and notes. Each contribution category has brinda atención sanitaria a The las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica itsFarmamundi own set of tools and format. categories didn’t change but whatbit.ly/vWsHq0 went through several changes was how to represent them visually and COFCoruna COFC 2 days ago how the volunteers added them to the task. The behaviour of adding and viewing contributions was defined: a pop-up screen appears when 1 the user clicks (fig. 35). The work view for a single task had a problem with horizontal NOTES space. EachTwitter category tooktothe whole width of the screen which made COF Coruña translation English. short text hard to read and forced too much horizontal scrolling. How can the work done by a volunteer be reviewed and edited? 1 This question led me to sketch different possibilities, starting with the design of a My Tasks page (fig. 36). Here users review the work and check for replies or suggestions to their work. This view was a variation of the Taskboard. The same user interface was used, but the icons for notes, tweets, images and links were combined with the feedback icon. Volunteers could review visually if their work had received feedback and if the task was deemed relevant or better edited or removed. The way organizations and aid workers create tasks was tackled next. Creating a task should be done in a couple of easy steps because time is limited and should be as simple as possible. I tried keeping

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TASKBOARD

MY TASKS

PROFILE

SIGN UP

TASKS SORT BY

DATE

SHOW

ALL WORK

Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. (...more)

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful. (...more)

We have a couple of reports that need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

MY WORK

MY WORK

MY WORK

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-10

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find.

MY WORK

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MY TASKS

CREATE TASK

PROFILE

SIGN UP

ADD THINK

NOV

PRIORITY

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12/11/2011 21:00 GMT +1

SOCIAL MEDIA

TRANSLATE

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REPORT

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ENABLE LINKS

ENABLE PICTURES

ENABLE TWITTER

ENABLE NOTES

PUBLISH NOW

SAVE

RESET

the task-creating options to the most convenient forms. Workers creating the tasks shouldn’t have to think too much about what to write or display, so elements such as tags and the level of importance are selectable and require no thought other than enabling or disabling those elements that suit the task. Task creators could enable or disable tweets, pictures, notes and links (fig. 37). This method was overused and would later be redesigned. In the box where the description for the task is written the Add Think button is used. If pressed the text would turn into italics and the word think would be inserted. This was done so that aid workers would add examples to their descriptions. For instance, the aid workers type in the description of the task “We need insight about the tragedy from the public’s point of view” by

62

Figure 36. The section My Tasks shows the tasks the user was working on and the work progress. Figure 37. The Create Task view had several clickable options to the task creator quicker but it was important to give the aid workers freedom to work.

3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


TASKBOARD

MY TASKS

PROFILE

SIGN UP

Name Lastname Username Website

OVERVIEW Task created by OCHA on 01/11/2011 and finished on 12/11/2011. VIEW WORK

NETWORK

Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs. 1

NETWORK

2

1

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2 notes spawned 1 picture and 2 feedback comments

2

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pressing the Add Think button they could format it the following way “We need insight about the tragedy from the public’s point of view, think tweets and links posted by locals.” On this version of the Profile page each task had a view of the network that displayed how much work had been done by the volunteer and how it affected the task (fig. 38). I tried using a circle divided into different shades for each contribution category (tweet, note, link, image) and linking them to the users. This view shows the volunteers the impact of their work and who built upon it. This approach was later tweaked but the main characteristics were defined at this point. The wireframes were useful for trying out the colour palette. I experimented with textures that combined dark colours with intense hues of much brighter tones. I tried different ways of giving depth and creating visual hierarchy for the information displayed. Dark colours created strong contrast, but white and grey backgrounds worked better (fig. 39). Users add information that can clutter the design; therefore, a light background with a rigid grid makes the interface appear clean. Reading text is easier on the eyes on white backgrounds, which also bring out the images. Strong tones for certain aspects were still used and worked well for highlighting key information. The second wireframes established functions that hadn’t been addressed before, like: How to work and contribute on a task? How to choose and search for a task? How to display levels of information?

Figure 38. The next drafts for the profile page explored visualisations of the volunteers’ work.

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TASKBOARD

MY TASKS

PROFILE

SIGN UP

TASKS SORT BY

DATE DUE

Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents.

PRIORITY

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We have a couple of reports that need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where The aid team is currently in El damaged in past earthquakes. Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of PRIORITY the current events of the area is useful. (...more)

We are assesing the impact of the in New Zealand. We would like to compile a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons Put together a secondary learned” conference. situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in PRIORITY Central America before so understanding the context will help. NOV (...more)

SORTpast BY earthquake DATE DUE

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We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the PRIORITY documents.

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TASKS SOCIAL RETRIEVE We MEDIA are assesing the impact of theTRANSLATE past SORT BY earthquake DATE DUE

in New Zealand. We would like to compile a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference. Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most PRIORITY of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. NOV

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We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. PRIORITY We need help translating all the documents.

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TAG that WeCATEGORIZE have a couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where in past in El The aiddamaged team is currently earthquakes. Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, PRIORITY pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

NOV

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VIEW BY TAG SOCIAL MEDIA RETRIEVE TRANSLATE TASKS We are assesing the impact of the SORTpast BY earthquake DATE DUE

in New Zealand. We would like to compile a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” Put together a secondary conference.awareness report for situational the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central PRIORITY America before so understanding the context will help. NOV

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We have a couple of reports that need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how aid many buildings wherein El The team is currently damaged but in past Salvador has earthquakes. limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social PRIORITY comments of the current events of the area is useful.

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Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the PRIORITY documents.

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Figure 39, Several colour combinations were tried out for implementation in the final design.

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3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


3.3 Functions and behaviours Having decided the overall experience, I focused on the graphic user interface, defining in detail the interaction behaviours, content, language and emotional tone. The graphic interface had its main functions defined and the main visual characteristics were set in the wireframes. Some aspects of the platform experience changed but the flow that had been designed with the wireframes prevailed. I then revisited the design several times, trying different graphic styles, and finally defining user experience questions like: What are the limits of the users regarding the tasks they are working on? What does the volunteer gain from the work? How can people be motivated to work on the platform? It was useful here to revisit some of the conversations with people that had experience of emergency management before designing any further. It helped specify what sorts of task the volunteers could do. Having a defined taxonomy of tasks makes the platform more stable: it’s better to have a closed list of things that can be done than an improvised and spontaneous platform where anything can happen. The tasks are all related to information, especially one that is found and shared online. This information, like mention in previous chapters, can have positive effects on disaster response, and volunteers have the tools (mainly the Internet) to search and curate it. Different information tasks can be linked to the stages of an emergency. I spoke with Alejandro Guzmån from the Department of Defense and Hemispheric Security at the Organization of American States who suggested focusing the tasks on the stages of the emergency that are less delicate, but still important: mitigation (preventing and reducing the effects of a disaster), preparedness (limiting the impact) and recovery (restoring the affected areas). The most sensitive and delicate moment of an emergency is the response and it uses tools and methods that have been proven to work; creating something for that specific phase without testing would be a gamble and would most likely not work.

3.3.1 Taskcards and Taskboard Defining the Taskcard was one of the most difficult challenges. The first designs were usually too flat and there was no information differentiation. They were visually appealing but the information was perceived equally and there was no clear way of understanding what was most important. Also, the design got more complex and the information denser. I decided that the most relevant aspect was to get the job done. Its importance or who had created it mattered less. Therefore the first piece of information that the volunteer must see is how much time is left and how much work has to be done. From the start of the sketching process the style of the platform pointed toward bold typographies, icons and simple layouts. I tried this combination in different styles that varied to some degree but never radically.

65


Contextual report for Central American floods

Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

TIME FOR TASK

SKILLS WANTED

SOCIAL MEDIA

REPORT

WEB SEARCH IMAGE TAG

DUE:

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 12th

Contextual report for Central American floods

Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

SOCIAL MEDIA

REPORT

WEB SEARCH

DUE:

IMAGE TAG

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 12th

The initial proposals were Taskcards that didn’t require much dynamism because all the information could be seen at one glance, but when the flip behaviour and buttons were added it gave more possibilities of giving the task more interactive qualities (fig. 40). This became quite useful for the layout of the search and filter parameters. Buttons and the flip behaviour allow the users to explore the task spatially without compromising the layout. The first search parameters used were priority, dates and tags. For example, tasks due soon would be placed first, but if users wanted to search for a specific tag or work on tasks that had high priority they could do so. Eventually more parameters would be added to let users find with more precision what they wanted to help with. These parameters also determine how many tasks are displayed and in what order. I tried different ways to differentiate these parameters. For instance, two parameters, date due and importance, have different graphic characteristics. A colour-coded background indicated the time left on tasks: strong colours were backgrounds for tasks that were about to be due and lighter tones for less urgent tasks (fig. 41). Eventually the background coding was dropped but colour coding was kept for smaller icons that showed how much time was left. Symbols of the importance of each task shifted from small circles (in the previous wireframes) to stars. Stars are linked to rank: more means more important. I tried changing the size of the Taskcards in relation to the amount of stars they had. If the task had several stars the card would also be bigger while one star meant the Taskcard would be smaller. I also tried changing the size of just the ribbon that embeds the stars on the Taskcard (fig. 42). This was later omitted and the rank was

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Figure 40. Examples of Taskcard proposals close to final design. I started to use buttons which helped layout more levels of information without changing the main layout.

3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

English to Spanish translation of flood information

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

04 DAYS LEFT

DUE:

MONDAY

NOVEMBER 14th

06 DAYS LEFT

DUE:

WEDNESDAY

NOVEMBER 16th

Categorizing information from reports

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find

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DUE:

TUESDAY

NOVEMBER 22nd

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NOVEMBER 26th

Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes

Contextual report for Central American floods

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

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DUE:

SUNDAY

NOVEMBER 20th

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English to Spanish translation of flood information

Categorizing information from reports

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

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Figure 41. Different colour backgrounds for indicating the time remaining for each task. Figure 42. The size of the ribbon would change depending on how important the task was.

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Put together a secondary situational awareness report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. (...more)

Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

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determined only by star count. Other parameters like skills needed, location or organization have no visual cues on the Taskcards. The first drafts displayed the amount of feedback the task had received. Earlier wireframes showed this with text and later with an icon. This was eventually discarded. Showing how much contribution had been added to each task was sufficient feedback (fig. 43). If users wanted to search for tasks that had received little input they could search for tasks that had received the least contributions. Instead of having the tasks tagged with a descriptive keyword they would be associated with a skill that the user can declare when signing up. Because it was determined what type of tasks can be done with the platform, the skills can be limited to a specific number. “Tag” was renamed “skill”. The tasks on the board are displayed in a way that takes up space, so the number that can be seen at once is limited. This view is useful for people who want to know more about each task before diving into it. A view where the tasks could be seen in a more compressed way was still needed. I tried different list views. The first kept some of the visual cues of the grid display like importance and colour backgrounds, but they didn’t compress the tasks enough (fig. 44). I eventually decided to list the tasks only with headline and description, similar to how an email application shows emails in the inbox. This greatly increased the number of visible tasks. The information visible in the grid display but compressed in the list view could be viewed by clicking. The information would appear by expanding the space between each task. This solution was also useful for other parts of the platform where tasks are shown horizontally.

Figure 43. The feedback message displayed in the Taskcard would be changed to show the actual amount of work added to the task.

3.3.2 Single-task view After deciding the main part of the platform I defined the sub-pages’ structure. The first of these was the Single-task view, which shows how a task looks and how a user can interact with it. The main aim in this part was to keep the design simple and clean because users would add information and images: it would be difficult for the users to navigate through a cluttered interface that continuously got more content. I decided to use a similar principle to a flip behaviour, the pop-up screen, where multiple levels of information are available by clicking (fig. 45). Both are spatial connections that extend the virtual space and allow users to focus on bits of information54. The first level of information breaks down the task into the four categories of con-

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3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


TASKBOARD

MY TASKS

PROFILE

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DATE DUE

Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

02 DAYS LEFT

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

English to Spanish translation of flood information

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

Categorizing information from reports

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find

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tributions: links, tweets, notes and images. Each user adds content related to each category that make up the whole task. When users add new content an interface for doing so pops up in a new layer. The user uses the same pop-up method for exploring in detail a link or any other contribution left. It’s likely that each task will have different amounts of contribution; a grid that can adjust itself depending on the amount of work added determines the space in each view.

3.3.3 Reviewing the work Although initially My Tasks seemed the proper way of categorizing the volunteer’s task it was eventually dropped, and reviewing the work was done in the Profile page. It was more convenient to retrieve messages and personal information from the Profile page like on other platforms. When the volunteer or organization reviews the work done one of the most important characteristics should be simplicity because a large load of work may well have accumulated and reviewing it can become tedious. A list view with text and colour codes for new replies resembles an email application, which is more familiar and works well for massive loads of information.

Figure 44. This early list view proposal shows elements of the grid view implemented to the list view. I eventually discarded this combination because it was better to keep it as simple as possible.

3.3.4 How to create a task As mentioned previously, creating a task by the organization limits how the crowd could work so two major changes were introduced. The enabling and disabling of adding images, tweets, links or notes was eliminated. It’s hard to tell what can work and be contributed so it’s better not to exclude anything. For example, a picture could show a

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Main layer of information

Flip motion after click

Additional layer of information

Additional layer of information pops up after click Main layer of information

lot of context on the numbers of a spreadsheet. Second, the Add Think button was also eliminated. People write in different ways; trying to adopt a certain format is not guaranteed to work. Instead a rich text editor was included in the description box.

3.3.5 Profile and Discover pages The Profile and Discover pages were defined finally. At one point the rational part of the platform seemed strong enough but lacked motivations for users who had no idea where to start. I omitted any social network functions on the Profile page. It’s better to connect the platform to Facebook or Twitter, social and information networks that people use regularly. By connecting the platform to other social networks, users can link and share their work and it creates links to the platform. If a volunteer wants to be contacted, a set of details can be determined during the signing up and viewed by others. The Profile page is one half of the motivational part of the platform. The other half is the Discover page. The Discover page was added to the platform so users could explore in different ways the current availability of tasks based on current events and location. It allows them to find out what they are interested in and how they can help. The map view displays tasks by location; they can be filtered by current events, by the organization that created them, or by volunteers that have achieved a landmark. The goal of this approach is to help people find what they’re interested in. Both sections are discussed further in the next chapter.

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Figure 45. The UI transitions. The flip card when clicked shows additional related content. Bottom: the additional layer of information pops up and overlays the main layer when the user clicks.

3. SKETCHING THE PLATFORM


3.4 Icons Throughout the design process the use of icons was always considered but only later were they defined. They are an important part of the navigation and organize the levels of information. The main challenge was to determine what pictograms to associate with each action or information. Subsequent steps included creating a consistent family of icons and making them bold and strong enough to work even in smaller versions (fig. 46).

3.4.1 Taskcard icons This set of icons is clickable and always present on the Taskcard. They represent the time and progress of the task, the skills linked and the contributions added. For the time icon I used a clock. The icon for the contributions is the pencil writing on the paper, which was inspired from one of the contribution icons (later mention). The skill icon was the hardest to determine. Initially it was convenient because the skills were tags; therefore, the tag icon practically designs itself, but the skill icon was more tricky. I tried at first using hand tools but these are used more to represent preferences of a system. The mortarboard seemed more appropriate because it represents a level of knowledge. The Taskcard icons differentiate themselves from the contribution icons because they are clickable and embedded in a rectangular background with a slight colour gradient to give the icons a clickable appearance. I tried several ways for giving the icons a proper context. Most of the proposals were done with gradients because they give good depth and are usually used for buttons in user interfaces.

Figure 46. First row: early proposals. Second row: wireframe icons. Third row: Taskcard icons, the clock is used for time, the mortarboard for skills and the pencil writing on paper for contributions. Fourth row: contribution icons, first one is for images, second tweets, third links and finally notes.

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3.4.2 Contribution icons The contribution icons represent what sort of work can be added to the task. As mentioned before, there are four ways to contribute to the task: adding links, images, tweets or notes. I used common representations (for example, the link icon represented as a chain is common) found in different platforms and software and designed them to fit the graphic style of my platform. The changes from the wireframes to the final design were minor and included adjusting the stroke length and increasing the contrast.

Figure 47. The name and logo represent the core principles of the platform.

3.5 Name and logo The logo and name for the platform were the last to be decided (fig. 47). I chose the name Fulcra it suggests the purpose of my project: a fulcrum supports turning a lever. I used the plural of the word because volunteers support the aid workers with disaster relief. It’s also short and easy to spell and pronounce. For the logo I considered how the fulcrum is generally represented with a triangle in technical schematics. My early sketches were based on this, but just one triangle missed an important aspect of the platform: discrete and small contributions combined can make a big difference so I explored representing a network. After several drafts (fig. 48) the final logo expressed the main principles of the platform. Three triangles represent the fulcra and the idea of network. Each has a low opacity, so their overlapping creates a more contrasted fulcrum. It represents how the combination of efforts has strong effects.

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Figure 48. Early logo proposals.

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4. final design: the three personas 4.1 Volunteer 2.0 4.2 A new volunteer 4.3 Profiles 4.4 Organizations


4. Final design: three personas 4.1 Volunteer 2.0 This chapter describes the main user experience of Fulcra. Three personas Joyce, Ryan and Martin demonstrate how the platform works. Joyce is tenaciously active in her community as well as passionate about raising awareness about problematic events around the world. She links blogs to her Facebook account that detail the violence in Syria, retweets messages from humanitarian organizations in Twitter that urge people to reflect on the current state of human rights, and posts images on her personal site about the ongoing but almost forgotten reconstruction of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. This passion had long frustrated her; she felt her efforts were insignificant because she couldn’t be there lending a hand; however, the tools she used to raise her voice about the issues that mattered to her are now used to assist aid relief workers scattered across the globe, working tirelessly to rebuild countries devastated by natural catastrophes and war. She’s part of a platform called Fulcra through which she receives tasks from aid relief organizations. These tasks, menial but essential, would otherwise have to be done by relief workers in the disaster area. Relief workers shouldn’t go to sleep at 2am translating texts or trying to find photographs about the area of disaster they are going to. Fulcra allows the organizations to deploy these tasks to a group of volunteers ready to help online. To work on these tasks Joyce logs onto the platform (fig. 49) and views all the tasks available in a section called Taskboard (fig. 50). Each task is embedded in a Taskcard. She can organize and view the Taskcards using search and filtering options. These help her optimize the results and discover what she can contribute to with most passion and confidence. She decides to filter the results by date due because she wants to help organizations that urgently need assistance. The Taskboard is also where she can view the tasks she’s participating in. By pressing the user profile icon the Taskboard displays only the tasks she has contributed to (fig. 51). This way she can review the status of each task and see its progress. She can compress the view of the Taskboard by activating the list view. She will only see the title of the task and a brief glimpse of the description. If she stumbles upon something she is interested in she can click the Expand button and see the full details of the task (fig. 52). Joyce selects a task that is due in two days and goes into the Single-task view (fig. 53). The task is about Central America, a region she cares about, especially since a flood hit it this year. The task was created by UNOCHA to give aid relief organizations contextual information about the area they are going to. Here she has tools to improve the work already done by fellow volunteers and add her own contributions. In this section she still has access to the information she found in the Taskboard. The difference here is that she already knows the information so can hide it to give more screen space to work on the task.

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FULCRA

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Sign in with your social network

Not yet a volunteer? Register here. You can also discover how to help.

The tasks are broken down in four contribution categories: images, links, tweets or notes. Each contribution added makes up the whole task. Joyce found a tweet in Spanish about the response carried out by other organizations and wants to add it. The interface for adding a tweet fades in while the rest of the interface goes dark. The darker background gives prominence to the task being worked on (fig. 54). She wants not only to add her own work but to improve other people’s work in order to make them more effective. This same section gives her the chance to add her input. She clicks on a link added by a user named Jeff. He has found a good article on what is expected to happen in Central America regarding the floods, which might, help aid workers understand the context they are going to. Joyce remembers an article she had seen a couple of days ago about the culture of natural disaster prevention in Central America. She thinks it can offer more contextual information how local people might react to it, so posts this link to Jeff’s (fig. 55). She keeps exploring the task because she wants to contribute more. A good way of doing so is by reviewing the work of her peers. She looks at the contributions and suggests how to improve them. She also votes and approves the tasks she finds the most relevant and disapproves by voting against the tasks she deems not valuable to the task.

Figure 49. Sign in. Joyce, the tenacious volunteer, first logs into the platform with the account created with her email. If she had wanted to she could have connected with the social network of her choice.

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Contextual report for Central American floods

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful (...)

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

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Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes

Categorizing information from reports

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

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Figure 50. Taskboard grid view. Here Joyce can view available Taskcards. She can sort the tasks in different ways and optimize the results by activating different filters. The first drop-down menu controls how the tasks are ordered. She can organize this by date due (shown above), progress made (represented by the progress pie with the percentage), the importance of the task (represented by the stars in the ribbon), skills associated with the task, and number of contributions added so far to each task. Other drop-down menus filter the tasks based on location, event or organization. A Taskcard embeds information that can be explored by clicking on it. By default the active button is the Date Due (clock icon), but Joyce can look at the skills associated with the task by clicking the skills icon (mortarboard). She can also look at the contributions by clicking on the note-and-pencil icon. The Plus button in the upper right corner of the Taskcard gives meta information on the task, like who created it, which volunteers are working on it, and related tasks.

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Contextual report for Central American floods

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful (...)

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

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Figure 51. Taskboard My Tasks view. Two buttons in the top right corner change the view of the user interface. The grid view is active by default. To its right is the list view. These two options can be combined with the profile icon (extreme right). Joyce will only see the tasks she’s working on when the profile icon is clicked. Because she has the grid view active she will see her tasks displayed in that order, and their status and progress.

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Contextual report for Central American floods

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Put have together a secondary situational report Central American floods. We several information regardingcontextual recovering from for the the flood but most of it is in English (...) Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

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Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador English to Spanish translation of flood information Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes Categorizing information from reports Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs Excel document with all NGOs involved in recovery Contextual report for Japan earthquake Information bulletin for aid team in Honduras Short translation of french texts to English Social comments on Haiti recovery Categorizing information from reports Image tagging for earthquake photographs Categorizing pictures from website Gender categorizing from social media reports Submit ideas for raising earthquake prevention awareness Local contribution for contextual report on Indonesia Weekly bulletin for Iceland aid team

Figure 52. Taskboard list view expanded. The list view displays the tasks in a compressed view. The example above shows when she clicks on the Expand button (top right corner of the task’s grey background), all that information relevant to the task is shown. The control panel (white box with the icons) can be explored in the same manner as in the grid view.

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ABOUT


FULCRA

DISCOVER

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Contextual report for Central American floods

ABOUT

HIDE TASK INFORMATION

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been to Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs.

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IMAGES

People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador.

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue.

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones.

Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

2 replies

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TWITTER

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Farmamundi brinda atención sanitaria a las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0

Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned.

COFCoruna COFC 2 days ago 2 replies

1 reply

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged If these conditions prevail heavy flooding is anticipated. Most of the water reservoirs and tanks in the area are full to over flowing.

NOTES List of aid relief organizations currently deployed in Central America

0 replies

3 replies

Figure 53. Single-task view. Here Joyce is exploring the task. She can read the full detailed description of what she has to do. At top right the Expand button (square grey background with an up arrow) permits her to hide the information about the task and focus only on what has been added. The sections for the contributions are divided distinctively. On the right of the contribution titles (Images, Twitter, Links and Notes) the icon for each one has a Plus button (red circle) which allows Joyce to add what she thinks will be useful.

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Contextual report for Central American floods

ABOUT

HIDE TASK INFORMATION

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been to Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs.

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People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador.

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue.

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones.

Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

2 replies

1 reply

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TWITTER

LINKS

Farmamundi brinda atención sanitaria a las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0

Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned.

COFCoruna COFC 2 days ago 2 replies

1 reply

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged If these conditions prevail heavy flooding is anticipated. Most of the water reservoirs and tanks in the area are full to over flowing.

NOTES List of aid relief organizations currently deployed in Central America

0 replies

3 replies

Figure 54. Adding a contribution. Joyce has clicked on the Twitter icon and the interface for adding a tweet appears. She has only to copy the link into the space provided and click on Submit. The tweet will be added to the task and judged and improved by her peers.

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Contextual report for Central American floods

ABOUT

HIDE TASK INFORMATION

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been to Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs.

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Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns

IMAGES

The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned. 9:04 GMT+1 | 10/11/2011 (Last updated 14/11/2011) | REPORT ABUSE

REPLY People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador.

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue. Credit: Reuters Joyce Mould

Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

2 replies

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones. Credit: Reuters

Prevention and early warning education in natural disasters in Central America 1 reply 3 replies The link provided gives a general overview of what the governments have done in Central America to educate the population in diverse natural disasters.

TWITTER

LINKS

18:21 GMT+1 | 10/11/2011 | COMMENT THIS REPLY | REPORT ABUSE Aaron Dessnera atención sanitaria

Farmamundi brinda las víctimas de las Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0 UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns Can @Jeff Tweedy add to the description whobeginning, gave this warning? The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's COFCoruna 10:32 COFC GMT+1 | 10/11/2011 | COMMENT THIS REPLY | REPORT ABUSE deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned. 2 days ago Jeff Tweedy

Sure thing Aaron!

NOTES

1 reply

2 replies

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged If these conditions prevail heavy flooding is anticipated. Most of the water reservoirs and tanks in the area are full to over flowing.

10:40 GMT+1 | 10/11/2011 | COMMENT THIS REPLY | REPORT ABUSE

List of aid relief organizations currently deployed in Central America

0 replies

3 replies

Figure 55. Improving a contribution. Joyce adds another link to the link added by a fellow volunteer. She thinks it shows more contextual information and makes the discussion richer. She can also vote on each contribution. If she finds the contribution valuable she will click on the Approve button (the check icon); if irrelevant and should be reconsidered, the Disapprove button (the X icon). She can report any misuse using the Report Abuse link on the bottom of each comment.

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4.2 A new volunteer Ryan heard about Fulcra while reading about social networks and emergencies on a new media and technology blog. He’s interested in participating and goes into the platform. He first registers and creates a profile (figures 56-57). He adds his details and selects the skills he can contribute. This will help him find tasks best suited for him. Although anxious to help he’s not sure where to start; however, the platform has a page especially for this The platform then suggests that he visit the Discover page. Here he has several options for finding something that motivates him. The first option is a map with many icons laid out across it (fig. 58). Each icon is pinned to where the task is needed. He zooms into different areas or opens the drop-down menu on top to select a region or country. When he finds an area he is interested in he clicks on the icon and a panel opens which displays in a list view the tasks available. Each listed task has an Expand button which when pressed gives Ryan all the information he needs (figures 59-60). Underneath the map quotes by aid workers describe how useful the platform is for them. This gives Ryan an extra motivation, so he keeps exploring to find something to help with. He stumbles upon Current Events (fig. 61). He reads about areas affected recently by disasters, cities still rebuilding themselves or organizations planning new prevention and preparation campaigns. He not only reads about them but can find a task to help with. Each event shows tasks that he can select, displayed as a list. If he finds one that interests him he can click the Expand button and view more information. Excited by what he has seen so far, Ryan is further motivated by the three sidebars found in the section. The first updates in real time and shows users’ most recent contributions to each task. Underneath he finds a sidebar about the organizations using the platform. By clicking on it he goes to the organization’s profile page. Here he finds contact details, the tasks it has deployed and concluded tasks (fig. 62). Finally he views a sidebar about fellow volunteers who have achieved a certain goal or worked on a determined amount of tasks. When he clicks on it he goes to the volunteer’s profile page (fig. 63). The featured volunteers find this rewarding because their work is recognized. Ryan feels this is a platform where every member of the community can make a difference. After exploring the different options he decides how to help. He goes back to the map and clicks on the icon on Haiti. He finds a task in which he can contribute to reconstructing the country’s most affected cities.

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First Name

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JOIN I agree with the terms of service

FULCRA

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EDIT PROFILE General settings First Name

Email address

Choose your skills Last name

SOCIAL MEDIA

GEOTAG

TRANSLATE

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Place of residence

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Figures 56-57. Signing up for the first time. A brand new volunteer like Ryan must first create a profile and edit his details. He can create an account using his email address or use the social network of his choice. If he uses a social network he can skip his personal details because these are automatically retrieved from the social network’s account. In any case he has to identify his skills. This step is important for declaring what he feels he can best help with. He can later edit these details and change the skills if he needs to.

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We usually have massive amounts of work to complete after we worked hours in a disaster area, your help alleviates our load and makes a world of difference.

People are willing to help and it’s not only us, the aid workers, that benefit from your help, victims of a disaster receive more time and qualified attention from us.

Anna Kowalski ONCHA

Patti Gurewitz ICE-SAR

Figure 58. Discover map. Ryan is exploring how he can help aid relief workers. In the Discover page a map shows tasks distributed all over the world. Each location that has one or more tasks is indicated by an orange icon. He can zoom in and move around using the controls on the left or go directly to the area of interest by using the drop-down menu on top. Underneath the map are quotes from aid workers that use the platform. (The Discover page has been split in parts in the following figures. The Appendix: Screens includes a full view that shows the structure.)

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FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

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MAP VIEW LOCATION

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2

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Haiti 132

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MAP VIEW LOCATION

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33 Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

2 Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake. We need to tag them and categorize so they are easier to find.

Excel sheet with NGOs involved in recovery

For future references we need a contact list with NGOs that participated in the recovery of Haiti. Some of them need to be found online.

Categorizing gender in diverse reports

7 In order to analyze and interpret better our data we need to categorize the gender of the victims describes in the report 1

Lessons learned, social media comments wanted

A lessons learned conference on Haiti is near and we would like to compile a series of comments to reflect taking in consideration the public View View all all available available tasks tasks

TASKBOARD

35 33

35

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PROFILE

We usually have massive amounts of work to complete after we worked hours in a disaster area, your help alleviates our load and makes a world of difference.

ABOUT

People are willing to help and it’s not only us, the aid workers, that benefit from your help, victims of a disaster receive more time and qualified attention from us.

Anna Kowalski ONCHA

Patti Gurewitz ICE-SAR 2

6 2 7

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2 Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake. We need to tag them and categorize so they are easier to find.

33 Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

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Figures 59-60. Exploring the map. Once Ryan has found a place he is interested in he can explore it by clicking on the orange icon. He would see a list of the tasks available and then explore one by clicking on the expand icon on the top right.

We usually have massive amounts of work to complete after we worked hours in a disaster area, your help alleviates our load and makes a world of difference.

People are willing to help and it’s not only us, the aid workers, that benefit from your help, victims of a disaster receive more time and qualified attention from us.

Anna Kowalski ONCHA

Patti Gurewitz ICE-SAR

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Anna Kowalski ONCHA

Patti Gurewitz ICE-SAR

CURRENT EVENTS

TASK FEED

Floods in Central America

Jeff Tweedy just added a link and a note to Contextual report for Central American floods

Jane Mould just added a tweet to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador Grant Hart just added a photo to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador Ian Magnum just added a note to English to Spanish translation of food information

What I Can Do:

Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been to Central America before so understanding the context (...)

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

English to Spanish translation of flood info

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

Lessons learned, social media comments wanted

A lessons learned conference on Central America is near and we would like to compile a series of comments to reflect taking in consideration the public View all available tasks

COMMUNITY Featured Organizations

Earthquake Recovery in Haiti

OCHA is one of the first organizations to champion online volunteering as a viable support for aid relief workers. They are currently coordinating relief organizations that are going to deploy to Central America. See how you can help

Featured Volunteers Joyce Mould achieved a new personal landmark as a volunteer, she has now worked on 50 tasks.

What I Can Do:

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake. We need to tag them and categorize so they are easier to find.

Lessons learned, social media comments wanted

A lessons learned conference on Haiti is near and we would like to compile a series of comments to reflect taking in consideration the public

Excel sheet with NGOs involved in recovery

For future references we need a contact list with NGOs that participated in the recovery of Haiti. Some of them need to be found online.

Situation awareness report for

Soon we will deploy a new team to help with the recovery of Haiti’s most affected areas, we are looking for images

Aaron Dessner achieved a new personal landmark as a volunteer, he has now worked on 25 tasks

View all available tasks

Figure 61. Current Events and Community. Ryan can browse tasks by current events. This way he can learn about what is going on and give a hand as well. The Task Feed updates automatically with the latest contributions from the community. The Community sidebars shows the organizations and volunteers involved. He can go the organization’s Taskboard by clicking on the link See How You Can Help or learn more by clicking on the text or images and going to their profile. The featured volunteers show the people helping and how each contributes. He can explore their profile pages by clicking on the text or profile image.

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FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

ABOUT

15 tasks completed Member since September 2011

UNOCHA

unocha.org

UNOCHA

ABOUT

ACTIVITY FEED OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. OCHA's mission is to: Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies. Advocate the rights of people in need. Promote preparedness and prevention. Facilitate sustainable solutions.

CURRENT TASKS Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

Translation from English to Spanish of daily bulletins

We need to translate several bulletins regarding information on how to procede after a disaster. Most of them are short and to be written in simple Spanish.

Categorize information for lessons learned conference

The reports mention how many people were affected during the last floods in Asia. We need to categorize how many where children, women and men.

Photo added to Contextual Report of Central America by Katherin Rollins

Tweet added to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador by Jeff Tweedy

Aaron Dessner replied to a Link added by Ian Magnum on Contextual Report for Central America

View all available tasks

ARCHIVE Situational report on Haiti recovery

Based on what can be find online we would need to know what is being said and done regarding the recovery of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake

Lessons learned conference materials

We are preparing a lessons learned conference of the earthquake in Japan and we could use comments taken from social media sites.

Report to better understand the context of Indonesia

An aid team is deploying to Indonesia to help with the floods recovery. It’s important for them to have a general idea of what is going on.

Figure 62. Organization Profile page, volunteer point of view. Ryan got to this section by clicking one of the images he saw in the Featured Organization’s sidebar. Here he can learn more about what the organization does, and find links and other contact details. He can view the tasks currently deployed and, if he wants to see them all, click on the View All Available Tasks link. He will then be taken to the Taskboard with all tasks filtered out except for UNOCHA’s. In the Archive he can review previous tasks, but because the tasks have been completed they can’t be seen on the Taskboard; however, if he clicks on any of them he will go to an archived Single-task view. The sidebar updates in real time the organization’s tasks progress.

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ABOUT

76 contributions on 20 tasks Volunteer since October 2011

Joyce Mould

Portland, OR. United States

jmould.com

CURRENT TASKS Contextual report for Central American floods

ACTIVITY FEED Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help. View all tasks by same event

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

View all tasks by same organization

Link added to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

View all tasks by same organization

Replied to Link on Contextual Report for Central America

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish. View all tasks by same event

View all tasks by same organization

ACHIEVEMENTS

ARCHIVE Daily bulletin for recovery aid team in Japan

Photo added to Contextual Report of Central America

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful. View all tasks by same event

English to Spanish translation of flood information

jmould

The aid team is currently helping with the recovery of Japan. Communication can be tricky; therefore, using the internet is restricted. A daily bulletin with major events would be helpful.

50

50 Contributions added

25

25 Contributions added

Achieved on Nov. 2011

View all tasks by same organization

Achieved on Oct. 2011

Figure 63. Profile page, volunteer point of view. Ryan was impressed by Joyce’s accomplishments. He clicked on her name and landed on her Profile page. Here he can view what she’s doing. If he finds it interesting he can join the task or view more related tasks on the Taskboard. The two options underneath the description of the tasks take him to the Taskboard with the organization filter active or the event filter. Ryan feels he can learn much faster the dynamics of the platform by going to the Archive. By clicking on the task he is taken to an archived version of it.

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4.3 Profiles Both Ryan and Joyce can review the tasks they are helping with on the Profile page (fig. 64). It’s split in two views: public and private. The main differences are the functions available to the owners of the profile. Every time their contributions receive a reply they get a message here. This is where they can review what they have done and assess its relevance. If their contributions have received a certain amount of disapproval votes from the community they are asked to edit or remove them. Editing and changing any contact or personal details is also done here. The public Profile page is what other volunteers see. If Ryan or Joyce wish to be contacted they can publish their contact details here or allow other volunteers to send them messages. The platform is not a social network although it relies on some of its functions like real time updates and building communities based on common interests. People sign up here to help, not make friends, although new connections can occur as a by-product. If organizations need to contact the volunteers they can do so here. Organizations can send messages and invitations to the volunteers. This function is described later. The Profile page has a visualisation tool allowing volunteers to see the impact of their contributions (fig. 65). For each contribution added to a task they see how this created more work from fellow volunteers. It highlights in yellow all the volunteers who have worked on the same task. The main purpose of this tool is to show the community how relevant and meaningful their work can be. In this page they can review their latest contributions as well as their achievements so far. Both are displayed as sidebars on the right. They can easily access the latest work they’ve done by looking at the recent activity sidebar. All their accomplishments are shown in the bottom sidebar, which is kept updated. This achievement system rewards their effort by acknowledging it. An archive of their work can be found in the bottom of the section. They can review the work they’ve done so far. New users looking for examples of how the platform functions can go into this section and learn about previous work by the community.

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FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

01 New Message

ABOUT

76 contributions on 20 tasks Volunteer since October 2011

EDIT PROFILE

Joyce Mould

Portland, OR. United States

jmould.com

CURRENT TASKS Contextual report for Central American floods

jmould

ACTIVITY FEED Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

Photo added to Contextual Report of Central America

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 5 REPLIES

Link added to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

Added on Nov. 12th 2011 HIDE

People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador. Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

2 replies Active

Replied to Link on Contextual Report for Central America

Added on Nov. 14th 2011

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue

0 replies Active

ACHIEVEMENTS

Added on Nov. 14th 2011 HIDE

Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns.

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK

3 replies Edit or remove

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

NEW REPLIES

English to Spanish translation of flood information

50

50 Contributions added

25

25 Contributions added

Achieved on Nov. 2011

Achieved on Oct. 2011

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 1 REPLY

ARCHIVE Daily bulletin for recovery aid team in Japan

The aid team is currently helping with the recovery of Japan. Communication can be tricky; therefore, using the internet is restricted. A daily bulletin with major events would be helpful.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | FINISHED NOVEMBER 10TH 2011

Figures 64. Profile page. Joyce’s private profile is similar to how her public profile looks to volunteers viewing it; however, it has different functions. On the top right corner she is notified every time she receives a message from the organizations or volunteers. On her profile picture she can click the Edit Profile button to change the settings and details of her profile. Under Current Tasks she can view what she’s working on. By pressing the My Contributions button for the top task on her list all the work done is shown. She can view if someone has replied. If the task received disapproval votes she must revisit the contribution and edit or remove it. For example, the link she posted requires her to check it. Her contributions can accumulate when reviewing so she can hide them using the Hide button underneath the contribution icons. The Activity Feed sidebar shows quickly her latest contributions. The Achievements sidebar displays her accomplishments. Last, she can browse her old tasks by going to the Archive.

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FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

01 New Message

ABOUT

76 contributions on 20 tasks Volunteer since October 2011

EDIT PROFILE

Joyce Mould

Portland, OR. United States

jmould.com

CURRENT TASKS Contextual report for Central American floods

jmould

ACTIVITY FEED Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

Photo added to Contextual Report of Central America

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 5 REPLIES

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

Link added to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

NEW REPLIES

Replied to Link on Contextual Report for Central America

ACHIEVEMENTS

2 notes generated 1 image and 2 replies

English to Spanish translation of flood information

50

50 Contributions added

25

25 Contributions added

Achieved on Nov. 2011

Achieved on Oct. 2011

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 1 REPLY

Figures 65. ARCHIVE Network view. By clicking on the Network link (highlighted with a grey background, under aid team is currently helping with the recovery of Japan. Daily bulletin recovery aid TheJoyce the for task title viewed) looks at the impact of her work. For each contribution she added Communication can be tricky; therefore, using the internet is team in Japan restricted. A dailybuilt bulletin thanks with major events would be helpful. she sees what the community to her effort. She has clicked on the note icon

(with the yellow highlight) and is seeing that because of her two notes one volunteer added a picture and two others replied. Every user who collaborated with Joyce will be highlighted in yellow each time she browses for a task and looks at the list of contributors. Any time she looks for a new task she can find extra motivation by working with former collaborators.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | FINISHED NOVEMBER 10TH 2011

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4.4 Organizations Martin is currently working with the UNOCHA offices in Central America, helping local organizations respond more effectively to emergencies. He has lots of work to do and is constantly moving from town to town. He usually needs information about the current status of the places he is in but because of his constant moving and lack of good Internet connection he finds this difficult. He uses the platform for alleviating some of this work. He logs into the platform and goes to his organization’s Profile page. He has created several tasks for keeping himself updated on the latest news about Central America as well as finding support for small tasks such as translations. He has found a community of volunteers who help him with these tasks. When he logs in he can review the work done (fig. 66). Here he can look at the contributions by the volunteers on the tasks he created, and send messages to the volunteers participating. If he spots users who have added several contributions over time to the organization’s tasks he can invite them to form part of the organization’s network. Volunteers who are part of his network receive the tasks he creates. The main benefit of a network for Martin is a circle of trustworthy and ready-to-go volunteers. The sidebar on the right, Activity Feed, informs him of the latest contributions added in the different tasks associated with the profile of his organization. He quickly accesses the latest updates. Martin can go to the Single-task view for a complete view of the task; however, on this same view he can control the work done (fig. 67). If necessary he can edit the task’s settings as well as moderate the contributions added by the volunteers. He can also change the description, close the task before its due date, or disable one of the contribution channels. For example, if he feels the community has added enough pictures he can close that section from further work. He clicks the Create Task button to deploy a new task. He describes the task by adding a headline, a description that he can edit and format with a rich text editor, and determines the skills and time needed for completing it (fig. 68). He can also change the location of the task.

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FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

05 New Messages

ABOUT

15 tasks created Member since September 2011

UNOCHA

unocha.org

UNOCHA

CURRENT TASKS Contextual report for Central American floods

CREATE TASK Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

ACTIVITY FEED

CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 14 REPLIES

Added on Nov. 12th 2011 HIDE

People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador. Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

2 replies Active

Invite to network Message

0 replies Active

Invite to network Message

3 replies Active

Invite to network Message

3 replies Edit

Invite to network Message

1 reply Active

Invite to network Message

2 replies Active

Invite to network Message

3 replies Active

Invite to network Message

Added on Nov. 11th 2011

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue. Credit: Reuters

Added on Nov. 10th 2011

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones. Credit: Reuters

Photo added to Contextual Report of Central America by Katherin Rollins

Tweet added to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador by Jeff Tweedy

Aaron Dessner replied to a Link added by Ian Magnum on Contextual Report for Central America

Added on Nov. 14th 2011

HIDE

Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns.

NETWORK

Added on Nov. 13th 2011

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged

Added on Nov. 14th 2011

HIDE

Farmamundi brinda atención sanitaria a las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0

Added on Nov. 14th 2011

HIDE

List of aid relief organizations currently deployed in Central America

Translation from English to Spanish of daily bulletins

We need to translate several bulletins regarding information on how to procede after a disaster. Most of them are short and to be written in simple Spanish.

CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 3 REPLIES

Categorize information for lessons learned Figureconference 66.

The reports mention how many people were affected during the last floods in Asia. We need to categorize how many where children, women and men.

Organization Profile. Martin is an aid relief worker working with UNOCHA in Central NEW REPLIES America. When he logs into the platform he has several control options over the tasks he has created. When he clicks on contributions he views overall what the community has done. He sees if the contributions should be edited or removed. He can send messages to the volunteers and invite into his network those he finds reliable and motivated. If the list ARCHIVE gets too crowded heBased canonhide some contributions. To create a new task Martin clicks on the what can be find online we would need to know what Situational report on Haiti Create Task button. Feed onthethe sideof lets him isThe beingActivity said and done regarding recovery Haiti after the quickly access the latest activity recovery 2010 earthquake on his tasks. The bottom section of the right sidebar shows the volunteers who make up his CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | FINISHED NOVEMBER 08 2011 network. CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK

TH

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Contextual report for Central American floods Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been to Central America before so understanding the context will help. Think major areas were people concentrate, zones that have limited access, news reports, public opinion and contextual photographs.

ABOUT

HIDE TASK INFORMATION

TASK CREATED BY

48% COMPLETE

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People trying to cross the flood waters in El Salvador.

Officials ordered evacuations as the rain was expected to continue.

Carretera afectada en El Salvador por las inundaciones.

Credit: ILFE/Solliette Lopez

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

Remove | Message author

TWITTER

Remove | Message author

Remove | Message author

LINKS

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Farmamundi brinda atención sanitaria a las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0

DISABLE

Central America: Humanitarian emergency is only just beginning, UN deputy humanitarian affairs chief warns The region-wide humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, the UN's deputy Humanitarian Affairs chief Catherine Bragg has warned.

COFCoruna COFC 2 days ago Remove | Message author

Remove | Message author

Heavy rains hit coastal areas; crops and homes damaged

NOTES

If these conditions prevail heavy flooding is anticipated. Most of the water reservoirs and tanks in the area are full to over flowing.

DISABLE

List of aid relief organizations currently deployed in Central America

Remove | Message author

Remove | Message author

Figure 67. Single-task view for organizations. The Single-task view for Martin is similar to the volunteer’s. It does, however, have two notable differences. On the top Martin can close the task before its due date, editing the content of the description as well as giving it more time or changing the skills needed, and he can delete the task if he feels it’s not working. Underneath each contribution he finds two links: Remove and Message Author. He can remove irrelevant content or message the author of the task. He can also disable parts of the task using the Disable button next to the title of each section to prevent further contributions. This is useful if, for example, he thinks the task has accumulated enough images.

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TASK CREATOR Headline

00:00

Hours for task

DD/MM/YEAR Task description

Due Date

Select skills SOCIAL MEDIA

GEOTAG

TRANSLATE

CATEGORIZE

IMAGE TAG

INFORM

REPORT

ADD NEW Task importance

Task location: Tegucigalpa, Honduras (change)

PUBLISH

SAVE

PREVIEW

Figure 68. Create a task. Martin creates a task first by clicking on the Create Task button seen in figure 66. When the page for creating a task is launched he first writes the headline. Under Task Description he describes the task. He can format this text with the rich text editor. He can change the location of the task, but the task creator by default will include his location at the time of writing. On the right are tools for setting the rest of the task’s information. He estimates the number of hours required for the task and the due date. Finally he determines the skills needed. He can then publish, save or preview the task.

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5. FINAL design: details 5.1 User Interface 5.1.1 Taskboard 5.1.2 Single-task view 5.1.3 Discover 5.1.4 Profile 5.1.5 About page 5.2 Prototype


5. Final design: details This chapter covers the final decisions about the user interface and graphics and justifies the components of the platform. It explains the design details left out in the preceding chapter. Fulcra comprises two main parts: Taskboard and Discover. The Taskboard, is the workspace of the community. Here volunteers find the tasks uploaded by the aid relief workers. It has several options for the volunteers to optimize search results, display and explore the tasks created by the aid workers. The section, Single-task view, displays a full task after a volunteer has selected it. Besides the usual user interface elements this part is characterised by being multi-layered. It’s the only part of the platform that uses pop-up interfaces for adding and viewing a contribution. Several pop-up interfaces were designed to cover each interaction need of the volunteer and the organization. The Profile pages of the volunteers and organizations are important for the appropriate development of the task. These include details created to acknowledge the volunteers’ effort and tools for the volunteers and organizations to control and view their work. The other part of the platform, Discover, is characterized by the emotional part of volunteering and emergencies. It allows potential volunteers to find something that motivates them. All the task options in this section are connected to the Taskboard. Once volunteers have found a topic that motivates them, they can further explore it on the Taskboard. Each possibility for exploring a task will be discussed in this chapter as well as its logical structure and graphic user interface elements. An About page explains briefly how the platform works, addresses the most frequent questions (FAQ), and publishes news about the platform would be published. It provides information to people not planning to participate yet who nevertheless are curious about the platform. Once all these elements were defined the final step was developing the prototype. This chapter will detail how the prototype created for exploring and defining the experience and behaviour of the platform was made. I also discuss its technical implications and its considerations for a real world application.

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5.1 User Interface Several elements were standardised and used repeatedly throughout the design. They are the graphic core of the interface and hold the design together. They make the platform easy to use, understandable and visually appealing. Grid. To create the layout of the platform I used the 960 Grid System designed by Nathan Smith55. I used a 16-column grid, each 40 pixels wide with a 20 pixel gap between them. This helped me decide how to place together interface elements that relate to each other and have enough white space for a clean design. Colour. I experimented with several colour combinations and layout styles to define the graphic tone of the platform. Previous chapters have stressed the importance of clear and minimal spaces to avoid cluttering images and text when the volunteers upload and post their contributions. The light palette allowed me to highlight key information with strong colours that create contrast. The navigation is characterised by a colour code bar on top and under each menu button. This shows where the user is. Each section has its own colour. Visual Flow. Colour and space helped maintain a visual “flowâ€?. Assets like buttons were linked to specific colours, shapes and tones. Position and alignment also provided visual cues for relation and hierarchy. Type. For the headlines of each section I used Kulturista, designed by TomĂĄs Brousil, a linear typeface with strong serifs that makes headlines stand out and indicates clearly each section of the platform. For the rest of the text I used Proxima Nova, designed by Mark Simonson, which works well for text because it adjusts properly to web resolutions and allows good readability. Its combination of humanistic proportions and geometric steps makes it stand out from other sans-serif typefaces used on the Web. Three weights for this typeface were used: regular, bold and italics.

5.1.1 Taskboard Taskcards. The Taskboard displays all tasks in a series of cards (Taskcards) that let the volunteers explore, filter and lay them out to find what best suits them. The behaviour is based on a bulletin board but considers the benefits of digital support like handling levels of information without clutter. When a button on the Taskcard is pressed a layer of information is revealed and others hidden. Each button is related to information about the task and what is needed (fig. 69). Besides exploring the Taskcard, the density of information can be controlled using filter and search options.

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Contextual report for Central American floods

Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

02

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Contextual report for Central American floods Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

3

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CREATED BY UNOCHA UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS

RECENT CONTRIBUTORS

RELATED TASKS Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

1

2

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Figure 69. Taskcards. The respective states for each button are shown above. The top left card shows the time left, progress done and due date. The top right one shows the skills related to the task; those with a darker background and yellow highlight are the volunteers’ skills. On the bottom left the amount of contributions added to the task are shown. Finally the Plus button displays information about the task creator, volunteers and related tasks.

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SORT BY

DATE DUE

LOCATION

SHOW ALL

+ PROGRESS

CONTINENTS

- PROGRESS

AFRICA

RANK

N. AMERICA

MY SKILLS

S. AMERICA

+ CONTRIBUTION

ASIA

- CONTRIBUTION

EUROPA OCEANIA COUNTRIES AFGHANISTAN

Drop-down menus. The drop-down menus sort and filter available tasks to help volunteers find the tasks which best suit them (fig. 70). The tasks can be placed in various orders, like most important task to least, or just show tasks related to Haiti, for instance. Display options. Three icons on the top right corner shift the interface view (fig. 71). The default view, grid, doesn’t show a wide range of tasks but gives details about them; it’s the best way for browsing when used with the filters. Next to the grid icon, the list icon displays the tasks as a list; this is best for looking at many tasks at once. To further explore the task it’s necessary to click on it, whereas in the grid view all this information is always shown. The Profile icon on the right shows only the tasks the volunteers are working on, and can be combined with either the grid or list view. This view’s main function is to give volunteers an overview of what they’re working on. The final part of the Taskboard UI is the More Tasks link at the bottom (fig. 72). This works as an infinite scroll and loads tasks as the volunteer scrolls down. Not all Internet connections have the same capability to load information as the user scrolls, so when the loading stops for technical reasons clicking on it will reload.

Figure 70. Drop-down menus. These menus put together various options without showing them all at once. The view above shows what happens when they’re clicked. The menu on the left also shows the mouse hover state.

5.1.2 Single-task view The interface and behaviours of the Single-task view (fig. 53) differ from the rest of the platform. When a volunteer selects a task a dark grey box scrolls down from the navigation bar. The distinction differentiates searching for a task from working on one. Information about the task can still be viewed but is not as prominent as it used to be. Its main function is to indicate to volunteers where they’re at. Contributions. The four possible contributions volunteers can add are images, tweets, links and notes; each is divided by division lines and strong typeface. A clear division between the contributions helps distinguish them but it was useful to add visual cues. The images need no additional cue because they have a strong appeal; in fact, images are displayed first because they can draw people into the task. Tweets, links and notes can be easily confused if they are shown only with

103


HOW ALL

ORGANIZATION

SHOW ALL

MORE TASKS text. To avoid this I added subtle quotation marks to the tweets’ background plus the Twitter profile picture. The links have a short description in a lighter grey and smaller font that tells the volunteers what it’s about. The notes icon is the only with two rings on top. This view has an independent behaviour from the rest of the platform: pop-up screens. When volunteers click on the red plus icons on the bottom right corner of the contribution’s icon a new interface window appears and the rest of the interface goes dark. Pop-up interface. Each interface for adding a contribution has settings adapted to its needs, but the general behaviour and look is standardised (fig. 73). Some parameters are shared, for example images and links’ simple rich text editor for descriptions, and all but the tweets need to be titled. Each contribution has specific parameters: •

• • •

Figure 71. View icons. The icons shift the layout of the interface. From left to right: grid, list and my tasks. My tasks can be combined with the grid or the list. Figure 72. More Tasks. Clicking loads more tasks when loading by scrolling fails.

Images. The image screen has two channels for adding an item: uploading from the computer or linking from an online source. Tweets automatically include the picture of the user and the date when it was posted. Links are typed or copy-pasted first and then a title and description are given. Notes are created online by the volunteers or uploaded. Images like links share the same description parameters and have to be titled and described. A limited rich text editor can be used to make certain parts of the text stand out. Notes on the other hand have a rich text editor more advanced than the one found on the links and pictures. The editor allows the users to write with more freedom and contribute what can’t be added with the other tools: for example, an Excel sheet can be uploaded or a list of hospitals typed in.

Clicking on the contribution itself pops up a new window (fig. 74) that shows the volunteers a full description (if any), author, date added, and replies. Clicking on the title of the link, tweet or web image takes the volunteer to the original source and uploaded files can

104

5. FINAL DESIGN: DETAILS


ADD LINK

ADD IMAGE

ADD LINK URL IMAGE URL... ADD LINK TITLE FROM COMPUTER (OPEN...)

ADD LINK DESCRIPTION ADD IMAGE TITLE

SUBMIT ADD IMAGE DESCRIPTION

ADD NOTE ADD NOTE TITLE

SUBMIT ADD NOTE

ADD TWEET ADD TWEET URL

SUBMIT

be downloaded. Abuses can be reported in this interface, which are checked by the aid worker. Volunteers who abuse the platform can be banned from participating. In this view the volunteers can reply to the contribution or to replies left by others. The reply window (fig. 75) also pops up but remains under the contribution window, and shares the basic rich text editor. Comments improve the work by controlling and showing mistakes, asking for sources or translations, suggesting improvements, among other things. The volunteers can also reply to the task by adding links, notes, images or tweets they think broadens the scope, helps contextualize the task, gives better understanding of the subject or provides a new point of view. The last UI element of this section is the approve and disapprove buttons, represented by a check and a cross icon under each comment or contribution. These control the quality and relevance of the work. Each new comment or contribution appears above the rest but can move down if they are not relevant. Those with high approval votes remain on top thus keeping the newest and most relevant first on the list. Aid workers looking at this section have tools not available to the volunteers. These are tools for moderating the task because leadership and experience are needed.

SUBMIT

Figure 73. Adding contributions UI. Each interface for adding a contribution has its own features.

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TWEET

BY AARON DESSNER

Farmamundi brinda atención sanitaria a las víctimas de las inundaciones en Centroamérica bit.ly/vWsHq0 COFCoruna COFC 2 days ago

12:214 GMT+1 | 19/11/2011 | REPORT ABUSE

REPLY

Grant Hart

Translation and contextual information on COFCoruna Farmamundi provides medical atention to the victims of the Central American floods bit.ly/vWsHq0 COFCoruna is the official organization of pharmacists in Coruña. They are a strong organization that leads campagins regarding public health. More information can be found on their website http://www.cofc.es/ 10:21 GMT+1 | 20/11/2011 | COMMENT THIS REPLY | REPORT ABUSE

REPLY

SUBMIT

Figure 74. Contribution UI. Clicking on the text of the tweet sends the user to the original source. The contribution and each comment have a button for approval and disapproval (the check and the cross icons). Figure 75. Adding a reply. Clicking on Comment this reply link shows the reply interface window.

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5. FINAL DESIGN: DETAILS


Taskboard

Filters

Location

Events

Organization Feat. Org

Feat. Volun.

Map

Current events

Community

Discover

5.1.3 Discover The main purpose of the Discover page is to help volunteers find a motivation to participate. Every section is linked to the Taskboard: the map, current events and organization sections of the Discover page are connected to the location, events and organizations filters found in the Taskboard (fig. 76). The Profile page is not directly linked but the public profile accessible from the Discover page has direct links to the Taskboard. For example, if the volunteers are browsing the map and click on Haiti, the interface will open and show a list of tasks. At the bottom of the interface a link, View All Available Tasks is found (fig. 77). If clicked, the users are taken to the Taskboard where they will see displayed only the tasks for Haiti. The same is applicable to Current Events and Featured Organizations, in this section however the link is called See How You Can Help. The sidebars of the Discover page have a grey background for distinction. The main purpose of the Task Feed is to motivate new volunteers by showing current activity. The Featured Organization and Featured Volunteers make up the Community sidebars; clicking on the circles beneath them shifts the display and shows new volunteers or organizations. The display changes like a slideshow if no one clicks (fig. 78).

Figure 76. This spider diagram illustrates the connection between the location, events and organization filters in the Taskboard to the map, currents events and community in the Discover page.

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2

6 2 7

Haiti 132

9

8

33 Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

2 Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake. We need to tag them and categorize so they are easier to find.

Excel sheet with NGOs involved in recovery

For future references we need a contact list with NGOs that participated in the recovery of Haiti. Some of them need to be found online.

Categorizing gender in diverse reports

7 In order to analyze and interpret better our data we need to categorize the gender of the victims describes in the report 1

Lessons learned, social media comments wanted

A lessons learned conference on Haiti is near and we would like to compile a series of comments to reflect taking in consideration the public View all available tasks

Featured Organizations

35

Featured Organizations

OCHA is one of the first organizations to champion online volunteering as a viable support for aid relief workers.

ICE-SAR The ICE-SAR rescue teams number about 100, within which there are thousands of people who are always available when needed.

They are currently coordinating relief organizations that are going to deploy to Central America.

The professionalism that characterizes the work of Icelandic rescue teams has brought worldwide attention.

See how you can help

See how you can help

Figure 77. View All Available Tasks. Clicking on the link sends the volunteers to the Taskboard with the filter related to the Discover section active. In the example above the volunteers would see the tasks related to Haiti. Figure 78. Community sidebars. These sidebars, uniquely, work as slideshows if the volunteers don’t click on the bottom circles to navigate. The same area can hold several layers of information and show different organizations or volunteers for new users to learn from.

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5. FINAL DESIGN: DETAILS


FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

01 New Message

ABOUT

Just joined the platform! Volunteer since January 2012

EDIT PROFILE

Jean Thompson

Lima, Perú

CURRENT TASKS No current tasks but that’s ok, you can discover how you can help or check the taskboard!

ACHIEVEMENTS Became a volunteer! Joined January 2012

Remember to define your skills for better task results!

5.1.4 Profile The Profile has two views: private and public. The owner of the profile can only view the private one. Aid workers have tools for editing and guiding the task, but volunteers only for reviewing their work and learning from what has been done. The tone of the Profile page differs from that of social network. The contact information displayed is optional and users can remain anonymous. The Achievements function as motivation and gaining them should not feel like a competition. For example, first-time users automatically gain an achievement for signing up (fig. 79). If the profile was not fully filled during registration or the users haven’t started working on a task, options for getting started are displayed. Messages sent by organizations and other volunteers are received in the Profile page (fig. 80). The volunteers can view them by clicking on the top right link that indicates if new messages have arrived, but if there are no new messages the link reads No new messages. Clicking on it changes part of the view of the profile. The top part remains the same but the main body changes to an inbox view. Users reply, read and delete their messages in this section. They can also allow only organizations to contact them, and all the networks the volunteers belong to can be seen here. The volunteers that make up shared networks are highlighted in yellow so that when browsing through tasks past collaborators can be spotted.

Figure 79. Just joined. New users gain their first achievement by signing up. Cues suggest how to start looking for tasks.

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FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

01 New Message

ABOUT

76 contributions on 20 tasks Volunteer since October 2011

EDIT PROFILE

Joyce Mould

Portland, OR. United States

jmould.com

jmould

MESSAGES

MY NETWORKS

UNOCHA | Network invitation | 10:40 GMT+1 03/03/2012 | NEW You’ve helped us a lot over the last months and would like to invite you to join our “Emergency response community”. You can accept our invitation by clicking on Accept or you can Decline. Katherin Rollins | Subject: Crisis camp in Portland | 8:13 GMT+1 01/03/2012 I noticed we’ve collaborated together in several tasks and you are from Portland as well. This Tuesday we have a crisis camp meeting . If you’re interested send me an email to krollins@gmail.com and I (Read all...) ICE-SAR | Network invitation | 13:15 GMT+1 01/03/2012 You’ve helped us a lot over the last months and would like to invite you to join our “Latin America Support Community”. You can accept our invitation by clicking on Accept or you can Decline.

5.1.5 About page The About page (fig. 81) gives information about Fulcra to people not currently interested in volunteering. It describes the platform’s objectives, what it does, and links to the main parts of the site like the Discover page or Taskboard. An explanatory video summarizes the main steps of volunteering through the platform. All events and news related to Fulcra are found in News, like magazine features, articles, awards, and success stories. F.A.Q contains frequently asked questions about how the platform works and the people involved. New questions can be submitted as well. The design would be improved with time as the needs of users and visitors become clearer.

ICE-SAR Latin America Support Community

Figure 80. Messages. Clicking on the top right link that reads New Message shows the messages the volunteers receive.

5.2 Prototype My prototype demonstrates the experience and behaviour of the platform. Experiencing the interactions gives a broad sense of what the platform is like, but not all functions work like they would in a real application; however, the result is high-fidelity because the simulation is lifelike (fig. 82). My approach to building the prototype was top-down: it starts with the main screen (Taskboard), then focuses on subsections as the experience develops. I used Flash and HTML. The Flash component is a combination of timeline design and ActionScript 3. Flash is a flexible tool for working with a “What you see is what you get” interface and code (fig. 83). The main control of the interface is the timeline, which organizes the content of the document over time in layers and frames. The frames divide the content and the layers are stacked on top of one another, each with its own images and text. Using only the timeline for animations greatly increases frame numbers, making the file harder to work

110

5. FINAL DESIGN: DETAILS


FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG IN

PROFILE

ABOUT FULCRA is a platform for volunteers to support aid relief workers in emergencies by completing small and discrete tasks. You can give the workers a hand by going to the Taskboard and finding something to contribute with. You alleviate their workload and they can dedicate more time helping people, plus you do all of this from your computer! Still not sure how to help? Discover how you can here. If you’re ready to start volunteering sign up now!

HOW IT WORKS

NEWS

F.A.Q Marcela Grinde of Relief International gave a TEDx talk on citizen assistance during emergencies and mentions the importance of FULCRA. Watch the presentation.

About the platform What is a small and discrete task? What are contributions? How can I evaluate a contribution? Can I get payed? Does my work really matter? About aid relief What are the phases of an emergency? What do aid workers think of this? Can I become an aid worker?

Collaborating with FULCRA is quite easy and can be done from anywhere, anytime.

FULCRA nominated for the 2012 Webby awards!

Can I contact the aid workers directly? Submit your own.

1

Find a task

2 Add a contribution 3 Give and receive feedback 4 Evaluate

FULCRA was recently featured in the January edition of Wired UK!

5 Repeat

with, so using code makes the document easier to use. Not only are animations more interactive and responsive, but they can be created on a single frame or without any frames at all. I prototyped with Flash because it combines code and front-end interfaces which for someone who is not a programmer, makes manipulation of elements easier and faster. I found it much easier to drag and drop parts of the interface than lay out everything using only code. The graphics created in Photoshop and Illustrator are easily transferred to the Flash canvas and the layout doesn’t have to be recreated. Each section of the platform (Taskboard, Single-task view, Discover and Profile) is an individual flash movie (SWF file)56. I didn’t create a movie for the whole platform for memory-capacity reasons: many images can make the prototype crash more easily. Initially I tried making one file with all the sections but it wasn’t stable enough;

Figure 81. About page. The About page gives information about Fulcra to the general public.

111

ABOUT


it crashed occasionally and some functions didn’t work properly at times. For creating the Web experience I embedded the SWF files in an HTML file and used CSS to positioned files like they would look in the final platform. Each interaction of the platform was divided into functions. A function is a sequence of code that can be reused and run many times. This method is easy to manage because each aspect of the platform is nested inside a sequence of actions that are executed each time the function is called. For example, each button in the embedded control panel in the Taskcards is nested in a function; therefore, when the skills icon is clicked the function that shows the skills icons’ content is called. This keeps a logical arrangement when programming a complex structure. As mentioned before, the code written for the prototype is combined with the front-end of Flash. The code offers more flexibility to what objects (like images or text) can do. For animations I mostly used the Ease class in ActionScript 3, which accelerates or decelerates the start or end of an animation. The Ease effect can be customized and several built-in examples are available; it can also be combined with other properties like the alpha channel, which controls the transparency of the object. A combination of code and timeline control is useful for labelling frames. Labels can be added to any frame in the timeline to identify significant locations and control navigation. This can be used to play short animations in a specific time frame. Code is used to render the buttons interactive and link them to points in the frames. For example, button X is triggered to start the animation on the label named Y. Buttons and images need an instance name to be controlled by ActionScript. An instance is a copy of any symbol in the library or timeline (like buttons or graphics) and these names are called upon in the code. For example, a button with an instance name of Btn will be called Btn when referred to in the code.

112

Figure 82. Screenshot of first prototype. The Flash prototype embedded in a HTML file. The simulation and look is close to how the final application would look like.

5. FINAL DESIGN: DETAILS


A Web application performs functions and solves problems while a website tends to provide information about something, Fulcra is a web application not a website. The language used for coding a web application is much more complex. Common examples of web applications are webmail, wikis and online shopping sites. Web applications have the advantage that because of the ubiquity of web browsers they can be access from anywhere. Updates and maintenance can be done remotely and users don’t need to install software. Applications are usually built using a programming language (an artificial language that communicates with machines) and frameworks (collections of code that can be re-used). There is no perfect programming language for developing a web application, which can also be built using a combination of languages like C++, PHP, Python, Erlang and Java.

Figure 83. Front-end and code. The prototype was developed combining Flash timeline animations and ActionScript 3.

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Conclusions Fulcra is a digital platform allowing aid relief organizations to crowdsource ancillary tasks to a community of online volunteers. The tasks are small and discrete but the combination of effort means that a great load is lifted from the workers. Fulcra is a system with different components that address diverse solutions. The result is a platform that balances rational and emotional functions. It has several solutions for different possible scenarios, which makes it an interactive project. Planning and designing Fulcra required evaluating components that would work as a whole to make the general experience logical, coherent and functional. It is the result of identifying a problem and proposing a solution using the craft of interaction design. Crowdsourcing, microtasking and microvolunteering were combined according to guidelines and rules compiled from the projects seen and sources checked. The crowd is ready to help but needs guidance; therefore leaders are important to keep order and motivate the conversation. The leader’s role should not be absolute; the community should be allowed to work as freely as possible. For this project I adapted the crowdsourcing rules suggested by Jeff Howe57. The main lesson was picking the right model for the platform. Approaches to crowdsourcing include: collective intelligence, crowd creation, crowd voting and crowdfunding. I used the first two models because they fitted best with what I wanted to accomplish. Collective intelligence refers to the idea that crowds have more knowledge than individuals; the right conditions and motivations will create an environment where they can express this. Crowd voting uses the crowd’s judgement to organize large quantities of information, which is essential in Fulcra to manage the material uploaded. The right users for the right job are not found but attracted. Giving tools to find what people are the most passionate about will have better chance of resulting in the right volunteers for the tasks. For that reason I tried giving the most filtering and search options possible. The goal is to make users feel as confident as possible to share knowledge and participate. The community will flourish if given what they want. In this case, a platform for volunteering should be a space where participants can find causes they are passionate about or learn about the people they are helping. Once the right group of people are working in the platform, it’s important to motivate them to stay; however, giving out incentives in a volunteering platform can be tricky; people don’t want their volunteering perceived as a means of personal gain. The rewards should remind people their work makes a difference. The tasks should be kept simple because most people are busy: their attention and time are limited. The benefits of microtasking and microvolunteering are that they can be done without much hassle. Having many tasks attract more people because the offer is diverse and increases the chance of finding the right contributor. It’s also valuable to show what has been done and what’s being done, but most of the microtasking platforms I found missed visual elements that showed the progress of the work.

115


Visual elements in the platform need to be easily identifiable. Few and precise graphics work better, although adding detail to make a design stand out is visually positive. Looking for inspiration for user interfaces can be tricky because patterns that work and look well suggest how the design should be but take away originality. The right balance between being original and building upon precedent can be struck through careful user research and experimenting with the design of the interface. Thanks in particular to the Internet, users have turned from passive consumers to authors and contributors. I found it personally rewarding to work among active users who want to go beyond spectating to and contribute something meaningful. I believe my project can be included in a range of projects that build upon the crowd’s will to create. I learned a lot from my research on technologies and aid relief. It introduced me to a context that I had little knowledge of but motivated me to find opportunities related to interaction design. The research led to talk with people with different backgrounds and experience of emergency relief. Each offered valuable input that took the project much further and it’s without a doubt a lesson in good design thinking. Talking with people was challenging because it made me rethink and question my design but at the same time made my decisions and conviction stronger. I enjoyed the challenged of taking a project forward by myself but it also made me appreciate the importance of feedback from colleagues and friends. Looking at the same problem for some time can skew the vision and it’s useful to have a fresh set of eyes look at the project. This made me wonder how the project could have developed if a multidisciplinary team had approached it. This project could be improved with a more user-centred design approach. Having stakeholders involved throughout the process can make the results more durable and useful. Constant user tests and strong design research can build a much stronger platform. This would likely happen in a design studio. User testing is still needed. Testing new technologies in emergencies is delicate. The consequences of a disaster can’t be properly simulated and aid relief organizations won’t test experimental technologies during an emergency. Standards and experience work in these contexts. Adoption of new technologies is tricky but the involvement of the crowd is inevitable; aid relief organizations must consider these platforms otherwise they will operate independently, which can cause harm. Ideally Fulcra would operate like a service to assist aid relief workers and improve the skills of volunteers. It could, for example, coordinate workshops to specialize the volunteers in disaster response, making them more reliable and useful to the workers. The tasks done in Fulcra are for less critical phases of the emergency: mitigation, preparedness and recovery; volunteers who are better prepared could

116


help in the response phase. In this context the platform would need dedicated moderators to control the information uploaded: aid workers committed full time to the platform. I focused the project on web applications accessible through personal computers. Next steps could include developing a mobile or tablet application. The parameters of design would be different and constitute a new project. The ubiquity of mobile technology means that volunteers can help from anywhere and anytime. A more rudimentary approach to technology might be explored, where aid workers deploy tasks using only SMS. The worker could send messages in a sequence that makes up the task. Mobile phones with SMS technology have proved useful in the past during emergencies and would be reliable partners for the workers. Fulcra could also be used by non-governmental and non-profit organizations. The same principles would apply, but modifications would be needed to optimize the platform for the work required. The main modifications would be to add more skills and increase the type of tasks that can be done. Previously I have volunteered for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF and found it always rewarding. So it was satisfying to combine my thesis with something I’m passionate about.

117


Appendix: Flowcharts

Click through taskcard

Click contributions icon?

No

Click skills icon?

User looks for a task

No

Use search parameters

Click date due icon?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Show work added so far

Show needed skills for job

Show date due, time left and percentage of work done

Select parameter

Arrange task by parameter selected

Select new parameter No

Find task to work on?

No

Yes

No

Find task to work on?

Go to task Yes Go to task

Nothing happens

Figure 84. Taskboard flowchart.

119


User selected a task

Add tweet?

No

Yes

View contribution

Add contribution

Add image?

Yes

Link Tweeter url

Upload or link image with description and title

No

Vote?

No

Comment?

No

Add note?

No

Add link?

Yes

Yes

Create note

Link URL with description and title

Figure 85. Single-task flowchart.

120

Yes

Yes

Approve or disapprove a contribution to give it more or less prominence

Add commentary or contribution to improve the task

No

Nothing happens


User explores content

Browse organizations

Search by events

Browse map

No

No

Find org. of interest?

No

Yes Go to organization profile

No

Zoom into map?

Yes

Yes

Interest in event task?

No

Yes

Browse profiles

No

No

Find event of interest?

Find profile of interest?

Know already what task?

Yes

No

Yes

Find area of interest?

Yes

No

Interest in tasks of the area?

Yes

Go to task Yes Go to user’s profile

Go to taskboard with event filtered results

Use drop down menu?

Know already what task?

No

Go to taskboard with area filtered results

Yes Go to task

Figure 86. Discover flowchart.

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User is on profile page

View archive

View network

View contributions

View messages

Yes Show contribution history for each task

Show relation between own tasks and other users

Select archived task

Select detail to explore

Go to archived version of task

No

Show what other users did based on own contribution

View active contribution?

New messages?

Yes

Yes

No

Show contributions

View new messages

Nothing happens

Edit inactive contribution?

No

Remove inactive contribution?

Yes

Yes

Go to edit task

Task is removed

View old messages?

No

No

Contribution will be deleted

Figure 86. Volunteer Profile flowchart.

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Organization profile page

View contributions

View messages

View network

View archive

Yes

Any inactive contributions?

New messages?

No

View old messages?

Yes

Yes

No

No

View new messages

View active contributions

Show relation between tasks and user

Show history of contributions for each task

Select detail to explore

Select archived task

Nothing happens

Go to archived version of task

Send edit contribution request to author

View what users did based on each others contribution

Yes Create task More inactive?

No

Yes

User replied?

Go to create task page

No

No

Found user for network?

Yes Invite to network

End Send another one?

Yes

No Remove

Figure 87. Organization Profile flowchart.

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Appendix: Screens

FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

ABOUT

TASKS SORT BY

+ PROGRESS

LOCATION

SHOW ALL

EVENT

SHOW ALL

ORGANIZATION

SHOW ALL

Categorizing information from reports

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful (...)

83% COMPLETE

10

DAYS LEFT

77%

DUE:

COMPLETE

SUNDAY

06

DAYS LEFT

71%

DUE:

WEDNESDAY

COMPLETE

NOVEMBER 16th

NOVEMBER 20th

04

DAYS LEFT

DUE:

MONDAY

NOVEMBER 14th

Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes

Contextual report for Central American floods

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find.

53% COMPLETE

07

DAYS LEFT

48%

DUE:

COMPLETE

THURSDAY

NOVEMBER 17

th

02

DAYS LEFT

DUE:

SATURDAY

NOVEMBER 12nd

MORE TASKS

Figure 88. Taskboard sorted by progress.

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22% COMPLETE

20

DAYS LEFT

DUE:

WEDNESDAY

NOVEMBER 30th


FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

ABOUT

TASKS SORT BY

RANK

LOCATION

SHOW ALL

EVENT

SHOW ALL

ORGANIZATION

SHOW ALL

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes

Contextual report for Central American floods

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful (...)

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

71% COMPLETE

04

DAYS LEFT

53%

DUE:

COMPLETE

MONDAY

NOVEMBER 14th

07

DAYS LEFT

48%

DUE:

COMPLETE

THURSDAY

02

DAYS LEFT

DUE:

SATURDAY

NOVEMBER 12nd

NOVEMBER 17th

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Categorizing information from reports

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find.

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

22% COMPLETE

20

DAYS LEFT

77%

DUE:

COMPLETE

WEDNESDAY

NOVEMBER 30

th

06

DAYS LEFT

DUE:

WEDNESDAY

NOVEMBER 16th

83% COMPLETE

10

DAYS LEFT

DUE:

SUNDAY

NOVEMBER 20th

MORE TASKS

Figure 89. Taskboard sorted by rank.

125


FULCRA

DISCOVER

TASKBOARD

LOG OUT

PROFILE

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Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes

Contextual report for Central American floods

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful (...)

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social commentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

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REPORT

SOCIAL MEDIA

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WEB SEARCH

REPORT

SOCIAL MEDIA

REPORT

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English to Spanish translation of flood information

Categorizing information from reports

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find.

TRANSLATE

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Figure 90. Taskboard sorted by skills. Yellow highlights those that were selected during profile registration.

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Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

Contextual report for Central American floods

We are assesing the impact of the past earthquake in New Zealand. We are compiling a list of social comtmentaries regarding the tragedy for a “Lessons learned” conference.

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful (...)

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help (...)

Categorizing information from reports

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

A couple of reports need to be studied in depth. We need help in categorizing the information. Specifically determine how many buildings where damaged in past earthquakes.

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake but we need to tag them so they are easier to find

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Contextual report for Central American floods Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador English to Spanish translation of flood information Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes Categorizing information from reports Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs Excel document with all NGOs involved in recovery Contextual report for Japan earthquake Information bulletin for aid team in Honduras Short translation of french texts to English Social comments on Haiti recovery Categorizing information from reports Image tagging for earthquake photographs Categorizing pictures from website Gender categorizing from social media reports Submit ideas for raising earthquake prevention awareness Local contribution for contextual report on Indonesia Weekly bulletin for Iceland aid team Quick translation of Portuguese texts to English Compile reports on past year earthquakes Suggestions for awareness campaign Help us spread information about our NGO in Haiti Contextual and situation awareness report

Figure 92. Taskboard list idle.

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We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English (...)

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador English to Spanish translation of flood information Social comments on New Zealand earthquakes Categorizing information from reports Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs Excel document with all NGOs involved in recovery Contextual report for Japan earthquake Information bulletin for aid team in Honduras Short translation of french texts to English Social comments on Haiti recovery Categorizing information from reports Image tagging for earthquake photographs Categorizing pictures from website Gender categorizing from social media reports Submit ideas for raising earthquake prevention awareness Local contribution for contextual report on Indonesia Weekly bulletin for Iceland aid team Quick translation of Portuguese texts to English Compile reports on past year earthquakes Suggestions for awareness campaign Help us spread information about our NGO in Haiti Contextual and situation awareness report

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76 contributions on 20 tasks Volunteer since October 2011

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Joyce Mould

Portland, OR. United States

jmould.com

CURRENT TASKS Contextual report for Central American floods

jmould

ACTIVITY FEED Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been in Central America before so understanding the context will help.

Photo added to Contextual Report of Central America

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 5 REPLIES

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK

Link added to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

NEW REPLIES

English to Spanish translation of flood information

Replied to Link on Contextual Report for Central America

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | 1 REPLY

ACHIEVEMENTS ARCHIVE Daily bulletin for recovery aid team in Japan

The aid team is currently helping with the recovery of Japan. Communication can be tricky; therefore, using the internet is restricted. A daily bulletin with major events would be helpful.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS | NETWORK | FINISHED NOVEMBER 10TH 2011

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We usually have massive amounts of work to complete after we worked hours in a disaster area, your help alleviates our load and makes a world of difference.

People are willing to help and it’s not only us, the aid workers, that benefit from your help, victims of a disaster receive more time and qualified attention from us.

Anna Kowalski ONCHA

Patti Gurewitz ICE-SAR

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Jeff Tweedy just added a link and a note to Contextual report for Central American floods

Jane Mould just added a tweet to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador Grant Hart just added a photo to Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

Photo credit: Reuters

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Contextual report for Central American floods

Put together a secondary situational contextual report for the Central American floods. Most of us haven’t been to Central America before so understanding the context (...)

Information bulletin for aid team in El Salvador

The aid team is currently in El Salvador but has limited access to the internet. A bulletin with links, pictures and social comments of the current events of the area is useful.

English to Spanish translation of flood info

We have several information regarding recovering from the flood but most of it is in English. We need help translating all the documents to Spanish. View all available tasks

Earthquake Recovery in Haiti

Ian Magnum just added a note to English to Spanish translation of food information

COMMUNITY Featured Organizations OCHA is one of the first organizations to champion online volunteering as a viable support for aid relief workers. They are currently coordinating relief organizations that are going to deploy to Central America. See how you can help

Featured Volunteers

Photo credit: Reuters

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Image tagging for Haiti earthquake photographs

Several pictures have been taken from the Haiti earthquake. We need to tag them and categorize so they are easier to find.

Lessons learned, social media comments wanted

A lessons learned conference on Haiti is near and we would like to compile a series of comments to reflect taking in consideration the public

Excel sheet with NGOs involved in recovery

For future references we need a contact list with NGOs that participated in the recovery of Haiti. Some of them need to be found online.

Katherine Rollins achieved a new personal landmark as a volunteer, she has now worked on 50 tasks.

Aaron Dessner achieved a new personal landmark as a volunteer, he has now worked on 25 tasks

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Notes 1. Times Person of the Year 2011. www.time.com/time/person-of-the-year/2011/ 2. Crowdsourcing is a distributed problem-solving and production process that involves outsourcing tasks to a network of people, also known as the crowd. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing 3. Sahana Software Foundation provides information management solutions that enable organizations and communities to better prepare for and respond to disasters. sahanafoundation.org 4. Crowley, “Disaster Relief 2.0”, p. 49 5. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is the general term used for the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers, middleware as well as necessary software, storage- and audio-visual systems, which enable users to create, access, store, transmit, and manipulate information. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_and_communications_technology 6. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a university-wide center involving multiple entities within the Harvard community that provide expertise in public health, medicine, social science, management, and other disciplines to promote evidencebased approaches to humanitarian assistance. hhi.harvard.edu 7. The Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (VO) is a web-based information management tool developed by the Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS) of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Geneva. http://vosocc.unocha.org/ 8. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. http://www.unocha.org/ 9. Coyle and Meier, “New Technologies”, p. 37 10. Ushahidi, ushahidi.com (last retrieved February 2012). 11. Crisis mapping is the collection of information from surveys, mobile phones, and automated systems for visualisation on interactive maps. irevolution.net/2011/01/20/what-is-crisismapping/

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12. Swiftriver Platform, ushahidi.com/products/swiftriver-platform, (last retrieved February 2012). 13. InSTEDD instedd.org (last retrieved February 2012). 14. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TED_(conference) 15. GeoChat, instedd.org/technologies/geochat/ (last retrieved February 2012). 16. Souktel, www.souktel.org (last retrieved February 2012). 17. Frontline SMS, www.frontlinesms.com (last retrieved February 2012). 18. Peter van der Windt and Macartan Humphreys, “Voix des Kivus” (2009). www.frontlinesms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/ Case-Study-Voix-des-Kivus-final.pdf (last retrieved February 2012). 19. Mission 4636, www.mission4636.org (last retrieved February 2012). 20. blog.crowdflower.com/2011/01/crowdsourcing-the-haiti-reliefone-year-later/ (last retrieved February 2012). 21. OpenStreetMap, www.openstreetmap.org (last retrieved February 2012). 22. JOSM is an editor for OpenStreetMap (OSM) written in Java, josm.openstreetmap.de (last retrieved February 2012). 23. The Standby Task Force is a volunteer-based network that provides humanitarian organizations with real time crisis mapping support, blog.standbytaskforce.com (last retrieved February 2012). 24. The International Network of Crisis Mappers is an international community of experts and skilled volunteers engaged at the intersection between humanitarian crises, technology and crisis mapping, crisismappers.net (last retrieved February 2012). 25. Jacek Barcikowski, Ishac Bertran, and Eric Stevenson, LSSE (2010), ishback.com/work/lsse/lsse.html (last retrieved February 2012).

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26. Sparked, sparked.com (last retrieved February 2012). 27. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization (last retrieved February 2012). 28. BrightWorks, brightworks.me (last retrieved February 2012). 29. Do Some Good, dosomegood.orange.co.uk/ (last retrieved February 2012). 30. TaskMeUp, taskmeup.org (last retrieved February 2012). 31. Kiva, kiva.org (last retrieved February 2012). 32. OpenIDEO, openideo.com (last retrieved February 2012). 33. Microtask, microtask.com (last retrieved February 2012). 34. CrowdFlower, crowdflower.com (last retrieved February 2012). 35. The Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcing Internet marketplace, www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome (last retrieved February 2012). 36. Samasource, samasource.org (last retrieved February 2012). 37. reCAPTCHA, www.google.com/recaptcha (last retrieved February 2012). 38. A spambot is a robot that specializes in gathering email addresses for a spammer to use. It basically follows links and saves any email addresses it finds as it goes along. www.turnstep.com/Spambot/glossary.html#spambot (last retrieved on February 2012). 39. www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5895/1465.full, (last retrieved February 2012, registration is required to access the article). 40. Digitalkoot, www.digitalkoot.fi/en/splash (last retrieved February 2012). 41. Lemmings is a puzzle-platformer computer game developed by DMA Design (now Rockstar North) and published by Psygnosis in 1991, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemmings_(video_game) (last retrieved February 2012). 42. Howe, Crowdsourcing, p. 134

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43. Howe, Crowdsourcing, p. 34 44. Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, Christian organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action worldwide. habitat.org/eurasia/learn_about_habitat/who_we_are.aspx, (last retrieved February 2012). 45. Dan Ariely et al., “Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially”, p. 17 46. The first crisis camp in Italy was held in Bologna November 19th, 2011, crisiscampitaly.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/piccolarassegna-stampa/ (last retrieved February 2012). 47. crisiscommons.org/about/ (last retrieved February 2012). 48. Geodata is data about objects position in space directly or indirectly referenced, www.gitta.info/IntroToDBS/en/html/IntroToDBS_glossary.html (last retrieved February 2012). 49. Personas are imaginary users invented to provoke, test and demonstrate an interactive product or service. 50. Buxton, Sketching User Experiences, p. 140 51. Wireframes are blueprints that show the basic structure and content of an interface. 52. Howe, Crowdsourcing, p. 285 53. Flip is a user interface transition to show a direct connection between the object of interest and further information, www.ui-transitions.com/#categories (last retrieved February 2012). 54. www.ui-transitions.com/#categories (last retrieved February 2012). 55. 960.gs (last retrieved February 2012). 56. SWF (acronym of “Shockwave Flash”,pronounced swif) is a partially open file format for multimedia and especially vector graphics developed by FutureWave Software, and now controlled by Adobe (last retrieved February 2012). 57. Howe, Crowdsourcing, p. 280

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Acknowledgements I would like to thank and recognize the following people: First I would like to thank my parents, Gonzalo Elizondo and Gabriella D’Arsie who encouraged me and helped me unconditionally over the last three years. The Atlantic Ocean separates us but they’ve always been there for me. A warm thanks also to my sister, Laura, for her love and support when I needed it the most. I’m indebted to my thesis supervisors Phillip Tabor and Gillian Crampton Smith for all their advice throughout the years of the programme and this process. Their input made this project significantly better and robust. Their passion for interaction design inspired me and pursuing this career path is a direct result of their great skill in teaching the craft with honesty and love. A big thanks goes to them. My thesis colleagues and friends -Antonio Altomare, Silvia Boscolo, Valerio Calimici, Gianni Cardone, Carla Piazza, Roberto Picerno, Fosca Salvi and Nicola Vittori- made this journey much more fun and bearable. I’ve learned a lot from them and I’m grateful to have shared this experience with them. Special thanks to Gianni for helping me with the translations and his support during the long hours at the library and Roberto for his feedback on the interface, the cover and the general behaviour of the platform. Barbara Franz helped me brainstorm and gave feedback throughout the project. Her contribution shaped and gave sense to the project, and her assiduous attention to detail spotted aspects that I had overlooked. This project wouldn’t be what it is without her help and support, and if she ever needs help with her thesis I hope to be at least a third as useful. Alejandro Guzmán from the Department of Defense and Hemispheric Security at the Organization of American States offered invaluable advice and insights on emergency relief and social media. His expertise gave this project its core and his input was not only useful but also inspirational. I thank his genuine desire to help me. Andrés Valenciano offered input on volunteering and linked me to resources for learning about the volunteers’ desires and motivations. His experience in Habitat for Humanity was very valuable to me and I’m grateful. The following were kind enough to talk to me: Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Yanina Seltzer, and Haiyan Zhang. Each made excellent observations that made the project better. Special thanks finally to those who answered my questions via email or gave me feedback and constructive comments: Franz Blach, Bill Boyd, Sonja Fritz, Pablo González, Björgvin Herjólfsson, Patrick Meier, Gerardo Quirós, Till Nagel and Simone Rebaudengo.

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Figures All images, photographs and diagrams are by the author except where noted below: Figure 1. Photo by Juliana Rotich, www.flickr.com/photos/afropicmusing/2206268626/in/pool-597410@N24/ (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 2. Photo by Ralph Barrera, photoblog.statesman.com/iranianpresidential-elections-protested-locally (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 3. Screenshot by the author taken from demo.ushahidi.com/ Figure 4. Photo from Digital Democracy, www.flickr.com/photos/ digitaldemocracy/4379912183/ (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 5. Photo by Wayan Vota, www.flickr.com/photos/dcmetroblogger/4423460678/ (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 7. Screenshot by the author taken from www.openstreetmap. org/user/Potch Figure 8. Screenshot by the author taken from tasks.hotosm.org/ Figure 9. Image by Ishac Beltran, ishback.com/work/lsse/lsse.html (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 10. Screenshot by the author taken from sparked.com Figure 11. Screenshot by the author taken from brightworks.me Figure 12. newsroom.orange.co.uk/image/1663/ (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 13. Screenshot by the author taken from taskmeup.org Figure 14. Screenshot by the author taken from kiva.org Figure 15. Screenshot by the author taken from openideo.com Figure 17. Screenshot by the author taken from microtask.com Figure 18. Screenshot by the author taken from crowdflower.com Figure 19. Screenshot by the author taken from www.mturk.com/ mturk/findhits?match=false Figure 20. Photo from Samasouce www.flickr.com/photos/samasource/4932032672/sizes/o/in/photostream/ (last retrieved February 2012).

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Figure 21. Image from Science Mag, www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5895/1465/F1.large.jpg (last retrieved February 2012). Figure 22. Screenshot taken by the author from digitalkoot.fi Figure 24. Diagram by the author, with photos from www.flickr.com/ photos/adc/ (last retrieved February 2012).

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Sources Articles, books, papers and reports Ariely, Dan et al., “Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially”. American Economic Review, 99(1): (2009) pp. 544–55 Blanchard, Heather et al., “The Case for Integrating Crisis Response With Social Media”, American Red Cross 2010 Buxton, Bill, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Focal Press, London 2007 Caragea, Cornelia et al., “Classifying Text Messages for the Haiti Earthquake”, College of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University 2011 Coyle, Diane and Patrick Meier, “New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: The Role of Information and Social Networks”, UK: UN Foundation-Vodafone Foundation Partnership 2009 Crowley, John and Jennifer Chan, “Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies”, UN Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology 2011 Davis, Jan and Robert Lambert, Engineering in Emergencies: A Practical Guide for Relief Workers. Second Edition. Practical Action, Rugby, UK 2002 Florio, Chris, ActionScript 3.0 for Adobe Flash CS4 Professional: Classroom in a Book. Adobe Press, Berkeley, CA 2009 Goh, Dion Hoe-Lian et al., “Tweet me home: Exploring information use on Twitter in crisis situations”, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University 2011 Howe, Jeff, Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. Three Rivers, New York 2008 Huang et al., “Web 2.0 and Internet Social Networking: A New tool for Disaster Management? - Lessons from Taiwan”. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 10:57 2007 Hughes, Lee Amanda and Leysia Palen, “Twitter Adoption and Use in Mass Convergence and Emergency Events”, University of Colorado at Boulder 2009 Landgren, Jonas and Urban Nulden, “A Study of Emergency Response Work: Patterns of Mobile Phone Interaction”, Viktoria Institute, Göteborg, Sweden 2007

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Leaning, Jennifer and Patrick Meier, “Applying Technology to Crisis Mapping and Early Warning in Humanitarian Settings”, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative 2009 Liu, Sophia B. and Leysia Palen, “Citizen Communications in Crisis: Anticipating a Future of ICT-Supported Public Participation”, University of Colorado 2007 Liu, Sophia B. et al., “Online Forums Supporting Grassroots Participation in Emergency Preparedness and Response”, Communications of the ACM, 50:3 (2007), pp. 54-58 Palen, Leysia and Kate Starbird, “Pass It On?: Retweeting in Mass Emergency”, University of Colorado 2010 Qu, Yan et al., “Microblogging after a Major Disaster in China: A Case Study of the 2010 Yushu Earthquake”, University of Maryland 2010 Saffer, Dan, Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Application and Clever Devices. New Riders, Berkeley CA 2007 Stickdorn, Marc and Jakob Schneider (edited by), This is Service Design Thinking. BIS, Amsterdam 2010 Stameberger, Jeannie and Kate Startbird, “Tweak the Tweet: Leveraging Microblogging Proliferation with a Prescriptive Syntax to Support Citizen Reporting”, Carnegie Institute of Technology 2010 Surowiecki, James, The Wisdom of Crowds. Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few. Abacus, London 2007 Tapia, Andrea H. et al., “Seeking the Trustworthy Tweet: Can Microblogged Data Fit the Information Needs of Disaster Response and Humanitarian Relief Organizations”, College of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University 2011 Turner, J. Andrew, Introduction to Neogeography. O’Reilly, Sebastopol CA 2006 Walter, Jonathan (edited by), World Disasters Report 2005: Focus on Information in Disasters. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva 2006 Wu, Philip Fei et al., “Community Response Grid (CRG) for a University Campus: Design Requirements and Implications”, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland 2008

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Web Dwyer, Liz, “Could a Crowdsourced Language Program Translate the Web?”, http://www.good.is/post/could-a-crowdsourced-languageprogram-translate-the-web/ (Last retrieved February 2012) FEMA, http://www.fema.gov/ (Last retrieved February 2012) Kalehoff, Max, “Online Social Networks Aid Disaster Survival And Recovery”, http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/55677 (Last retrieved February 2012) Leonard, Abby, “Crisis Mappers: Mobile technology helps disaster victims worldwide”, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/security/video-crisis-mappers-mobile-technology-helps-disaster-victimsworldwide/9325/ (Last retrieved February 2012) Meier, Patrick, “A Brief History of Crisis Mapping”, http://irevolution.net/2009/03/12/a-brief-history-of-crisis-mapping/” (Last retrieved February 2012) Raymond, Nathan et al, “Crisis Mapping Needs an Ethical Compass”, http://globalbrief.ca/blog/features/crisis-mapping-needs-an-ethicalcompass/4744 (Last retrieved February 2012) Rheingold, Howard, “The new power of collaboration”, http://www. ted.com/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html (Last retrieved February 2012) Shirky, Clay, “How Social Media Can Make History”, www.ted.com/ talks/clay_shirky_how_cellphones_twitter_facebook_can_make_history.html (Last retrieved February 2012) What is Emergency Management?, http://www.maine.gov/mema/ about/mema_emdef.shtml (Last retrieved February 2012) Yasin, Rutrell, “5 Ways to Use Social Media for Better Emergency Response”, http://gcn.com/Articles/2010/09/06/social-mediaemergency-management.aspx?Page=1 (Last retrieved February 2012)

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Colophon Typeface titles Frutiger (bold and regular) Typeface text Scala (regular, bold and italics) Software Adobe InDesign CS4

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UNIVERSITÀ IUAV DI VENEZIA FACOLTA’ DI DESIGN E ARTI

DICHIARAZIONE DI CONSULTABILITA’ O NON CONSULTABILITA’ DELLA TESI DI LAUREA (da inserire come ultima pagina della tesi di laurea) Alberto Elizondo

270589

Il/La sottoscritto/a ………………………………………….matr. n. ...……………. Comunicazioni Visive e Multimediali

laureando/a in ………………………………………………... IIIº Aprile 2012

2010/2011

sessione ………………………… dell’a.a. …………….…………. DICHIARA

che la tesi di laurea dal titolo: …………………………………………………………………………………………. Fulcra, a platform for disaster relief assistance by online volunteers ………………………………………………………………………………………….

è consultabile da subito potrà essere consultata a partire dal giorno ………………….. non è consultabile (barrare la casella della opzione prescelta)

18/03/2012 data …………………..

firma ………………………


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INTRODUCTION


Fulcra: A Platform for Disaster Relief Assistance by Online Volunteers