Ryan Dowler
Creative Computing / Year 4

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Ryan Dowler

Ryan Dowler

Creative Computing

Year 4

  • Project Title An investigation into the implementation of web features from popular sites/services into an altruistic website and their impacts.
  • Course BSc [Hons] Creative Computing
  • Year 4
  • Contact Info Ryandowler999@hotmail.com

An investigation into the implementation of web features from popular sites/services into an altruistic website and their impacts.

The aim of this project is to explore the possibility that users might use an altruistic site more often if it contains features from popular websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. The application named Reach provides a means for small organizations to gather needed resources. The main goal of this project is to discover if there is a correlation between user’s attention and popular web features. If there is a significant result from this investigation, then this hypothesis can be applied to scenarios where users usually avoid such altruistic sites.

Project Description

An altruistic Ruby on Rails web application where organisations (schools, charities etc.) can request needed resources. This crowd funding site named ‘Reach’ contains an abundance of features such as chatbot, live analytics dashboard, dynamic feeds, chatroom, speech recognition and additional systems (page-view tracking, ‘Like’-ing). Users can find and interact with organisations and their requested resources by means of the navigational features. These features include the Amazon style ‘Other users have checked out these items’ section and cycling navigation.  This is a persuasive design and UX driven project. Many of Reach’s aspects have been developed in conjunction with research in both the Psychology and Design fields. The Reach application has also been built with the aim of exploring the Ruby on Rails framework and all its offerings. The project contains more than native RoR features; the application uses a variety of JavaScript API’s and other inner-workings.

Project Findings

The results gathered from this project have been quite surprising. It appears that the feedback from users has been positive (ease of use) in terms of using popular web features. However, the positive results do not reflect on the environment where they are placed. Test users exhibited encouraging feedback towards the features they had previously seen, even stating their pleasure in knowing how to use them off the bat. Notwithstanding these results, the majority of users expressed less desire to return to an altruistic site (when compared to a social media site) regardless of how the site was presented to them.  In summary, users do have attachment to well-known web features but this is because of the attractive content contained inside them. The desired answers were found to satisfy the carefully constructed hypothesises of the investigation. However, a new question has arisen from this research. The question that asks “Could normally undesirable content be presented in a manner which changes its state to desirable?”

Ryan Dowler
Creative Computing / Year 4