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Crowdsourcing Article

Introducing The Idea Bin, the ideal application for any crowdsourcing project. Our application was made with one goal in mind, to create a community driven by shared ideas and the exchange of knowledge. Take a moment to imagine how many fantastic concepts and designs have been tossed aside simply because the creator lacked the knowledge of a skill required to bring them to life. Now with the use of The Idea Bin, a creator has an infinite wealth of knowledge, all they have to do is ask. The Idea Bin would also be partnered with Amazon Turk to allow for the startup companies to list tasks to be crowdsourced. For example, if a user wanted to design a mobile application but didn’t know how to program or design, they could create a profile on The Idea Bin. Then they could send out an assistance request and after some time another user who has the skill the creator needs fulfilled will answer, and the development process can begin. However, the utility of our product doesn’t end there. Along the developmental process the newly formed team can send out surveys or simply ask other users for suggestions on ways to improve the product.

The biggest challenge our team had in the early stages of the design sprint was the implementation of a crowdsourcing feature into the project. We wanted something unique and practical. While toying with the ideas of open chat rooms, real time feedback, and other possibilities of users communicating with the development team it was here that we found our solution. The answer was a mixture of all forms of crowdsourcing. Active users can be a part of a developing project by taking part in surveys the project leaders sent out or providing data of locations or identifying various items if a project requires it (e.g. a crowdsourced backpacking map of uncharted terrain), or simply answering questions the project leader may want to ask the users in the form of surveys.

Upon creating a visual prototype our team noticed the best application of crowdsourcing in our product was the acquisition of user input and data. Having users reporting the best touring locations, camping sites, image recognition, and other pieces information of that nature can be an invaluable resource for application developers. Another form of crowdsourcing our group experimented with but found unsuccessful were using forums to ask direct questions to crowds. Asking a question pertaining directly to the future of a product or their enjoyment of a program usually leads to unfruitful answers. The audience being posed the question may not be professionals in the field in which the project may be focused on, therefore each response will be vastly different. If fifty people say they enjoyed their experience and fifty others say they didn’t enjoy it, that information would be less than helpful. Consequently, our group decided to avoid open chat rooms or similar forum like styles of acquiring input from users. Some helpful advice we would offer other application designers who struggle with crowdsourcing would be, the best questions to ask a crowd of users are non-binary questions that require an explanation. If a question can be answered with a simple yes or no, that answer will not provide enough feedback to improve a product.

While giving a demo of The Idea Bin we asked a room full of upper division computer science students if they had access to a complete and fully functional version of our product, how they would use it and if there was a time they could have used a product like it. The responses our team received were enlightening and very helpful. A handful of students went as far as to provide input that we took to heart and ultimately implemented into our project.

In response to the first question of how a computer scientist would use our application, most mentioned they would use The Idea Bin to create web and mobile applications. A few students said they would use our product to find an artist, so they can illustrate the storybook and comics they have been working on. The second question, was there a time they could have used an application such as ours, came as a resounding yes. Every student had an idea at some point they considered too daunting to complete only because they didn’t know how to draw, weld, or couldn’t complete it on their own.

In concluding our demo, some students provided feedback to improve The Idea Bin. As the main focus of the application is crowdsourcing, especially obtaining crowd provided data, a system needs to be in order, so the information is properly used, and the creator of the idea has the most control of the development while the recruited roles have medium control, and the crowd can only provide data. This led our team to create a hierarchical chain of control with the creator having the most control over their project.

The entirety of this project started with a desire to give everyone a fair chance in creating something they are passionate about. Every user has a chance to be a creator of their own digital or tangible venture because there is no longer a limitation in either data or knowledge. Another idea our group had that lead to the invention of The Idea Bin was to allow for some way of networking between specialists in different disciplines who share the same goal and so they could work together on doing it. This is a form of crowdsourcing because it completely bypasses the need for a traditional interview. The other forms of crowdsourcing, The Idea Bin, has are user surveys, suggestion input fields, and the projects that crowdsource data such as where to get a certain type of beer. The strengths of our design are its efficiency, organization, and simplicity. We have the primary spot for connecting with specialists who are interested in your idea or reaching out to creators in hopes of being a part of the development team. A weakness or possible area for improvement would be to have a friend system where users could add friends they worked with projects on for future collaboration. In addition, our company could implement a reputation system where fellow users would have the option of rating their peers so that all future colleagues could see how others felt working with them.

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