Spam-a-lot strives to connect the Wellesley College student body with the events on their campus. This mobile application allows students to search for events based on nature of the event, time, location, etc. Additionally, the app can serve as a spamming platform for organizations and departments to publicize the events and fundraisers.
At Wellesley College (and assumedly other campuses nationwide), there is no unified way for departments and orgs to share events and fundraisers around campus or for students to learn about these events. Paper spam is outdated and easy to overlook; advertisements via email and existing social media networks are overwhelming, cluttered and difficult to sort through. Many times students forget or never even hear about events that may entice them. Due to these communication difficulties, many campus events are under-attended/supported. will revolutionize the world of campus event spamming by bringing advertising and event finding to a mobile platform. For the first time, all event spam will be in a unified space, and organized in a simple and easy to access interface.
One user class consists of the students in charge of publicizing their organization’s events. All clubs and organizations at Wellesley College are student run, so the org member who will be using this app is also a Wellesley College student. The users in this class will be busy college students that need to publicize their events quickly, effectively, and correctly, and then move on.
Persona for User Class 1:
Amanda Smith is a junior at Wellesley majoring in mathematics and history. She is the publicity chair of Wellesley Wushu, a martial arts group on campus that has practice every week and performances at the end of each semester. In addition to her school work and Wushu, she is busy with other activities such as studying violin, and babysitting off campus for a professor. As publicity chair for the Wushu team, Amanda must produce and distribute flyers and announcements for all upcoming open practices, performances, or any other events the Wushu team hosts. Amanda would most likely use as a spamming platform for her org to communicate information about their events.
Another user class for Spam-a-lot will be Wellesley College students (age 18-22). These users are the audience for the events held by organizations around campus. These users will most likely use the mobile app on campus when they want to find information on certain events or if they’re looking for something fun to do on campus at any given day. Wellesley students tend to be technologically proficient so it should be relatively intuitive for them to navigate around an app similar to Twitter. Students often have busy schedules so many of them will be using the app on-the-go and they expect to find the information they’re looking for in just a few taps.
Persona for User Class 2:
Grace is a sophomore at Wellesley College majoring in English and History. Grace is a member of the Wellesley College field hockey team. Grace is also a RA in her residence hall. Due to her heavy course load coupled with her practice schedule and RA responsibilities, she does not have time to get involved with any organizations on campus, but likes to support her friends in various orgs around campus by attending their events. Grace especially enjoys going to events that provide food for their attendees. However, because the current spam system on campus is difficult to navigate, Grace mostly goes to events that she is specifically invited to by her friends. Sometimes, if Grace sees an interesting tagline on paper or email spam, she will make a mental note to attend the event; however, it is rare that she ever writes anything down in her calendar, and therefore, misses most of the events that she finds interesting. Additionally, because Grace’s practice schedule changes week to week, it is difficult for her to know in advanced when she will be free. When Grace has free time, she would like to attend more events, but has found it difficult to both find events of interest, and keep track of where and when events take place. Furthermore, as an RA, Grace must notify her residents of any events going on on campus that they might want to know about. Grace would be interested in the learning, searching and sharing features of the app.
The last user class for Spam-a-lot is Wellesley students in charge of overseeing and managing student organizations on campus (such as the CGVP and the SOAC). This group of users need an easy way to manage student orgs and events on campus. They’re often bombarded with large amounts of information from all campus orgs, so they need an app that’s simplistic and easy to use to find and manage information.
Persona for User Class 3:
Charlotte is a Sophomore at Wellesley planning on majoring in psychology. She is an Administrative Assistant at Wellesley College Athletics Department as well as the SOAC Organizations Coordinator. She works with the CGVP (Celine Hu) and SOAC (Student Organizations and Appointments Committee) to oversee constituted orgs on campus. They set deadlines to make sure the orgs are all active and they’re also a resource for Org presidents and other e-board members. They host workshops throughout the year for e-boards and they’re always available to answer any questions. Unconstituted organizations also apply through SOAC to receive constitution. This year, SOAC started something called NewsFlash, which is a google group where orgs have to submit brief blurbs about upcoming events (the CGVP sends out a google form for all presidents to submit their information). NewsFlashes for orgs are required to be submitted biweekly. Charlotte would most likely use Spam-a-lot to keep track of organizations and the events that they hold.
0. Create flier for an event
Once an org decides to hold an event or fundraiser, the publicity chair or another member of the organization creates flyers to advertise the event. These fliers are usually created electronically and are used to promote the event both online and physically on campus. Spam is a way for the organization to entice their fellow students to attend their event, as well as a way to communicate information about event around campus. Creating spam is contingent on an event being planned.
1. Receive approval for event spam
For most events on campus, publicity is a separate position from the President. After a campus organization makes the decision to hold an event and spam for the event is created, the publicity chair must get approval for their spam and advertising from the org's President or executive board.
2. Distribution of event spam
After event spam is approved, it must be distributed around campus. Distribution occurs both electronically (via Facebook, emails and Google groups) and around campus (paper spam on bulletin boards). Spamming properly is essential for an events success.
3. Finding an event to attend
Before a student can attend an event on campus, it is essential that first, they know it exists. Events are promoted on campus in many ways: by word of mouth, electronically and through paper spam around campus. When a student looks at spam, information like what org is sponsoring the event, what the event is, whether or not the event will serve food, and the location and date/time of the event, helps them to decide if they would like to attend.
4. Adding event to calendar
Many students see spam about event that interests them, but since they never write the event down on their calendar, they often forget details about the event, or that the event exists completely. Adding the event to the student’s agenda will make it more likely that the student actually goes to the event.
5. Share information about an event
After a student learns about an event, they may want to share information about the event with friends or peers. An RA like Grace would receive lots of fliers and announcements, and is responsible for publicizing these events to her residents.
6. Find information about an event
After learning about an event, it is possible that a student might forget details about the event. If the forgotten details are essential, the student must go back the spam and check. With the current Wellesley spamming system, it is sometimes difficult to uncover the specific piece of spam.
ENTITY RELATIONSHIP DIAGRAM:
The Wellesley frisbee team is holding their annual bake sale! This year they are trying to raise money to travel to a tournament in Phoenix so they hope the event is especially successful. The team's publicity chair has recently made a team Spam-a-lot account, which they use to publicize their home games. Usually, they just post about previously scheduled games, but for the bake sale they want to use Spam-a-lot to help plan the event. Because the team is hoping to attract the most customers possible, they want to hold the event in a place that gets a lot of foot traffic, on a day where there are not a lot of competing events. They choose several dates that would work for the team, and then use Spam-a-lot's calendar to check which other events are being held around campus on those days. They see that the Wellesley Junior show is on April 10th in Jewett Art Center, so they decide that would be the best time and place to hold their bake sale. They use Spam-a-lot's built-in 25 live event form to send an event request to the Office of student life. After the event has been officially registered with the college (within the next day), the publicity chair gets a notification from Spam-a-lot that the event (and relevant information) has been approved and added to the Spam-a-lot calendar. The event is now viewable by the Wellesley population, and will come up in relevant Spam-a-lot search results. The publicity chair then uses the team's Spam-a-lot wall to advertise and post spam for the event. She makes several posts weekly until the day of the event to remind her peers of the event. These posts come up on the Spam-a-lot Newsfeed for Wellesley College (and on the home screen of individuals who follow the team's Spam-a-lot account). Students who want to attend the event can add it to their calendar (which syncs with their school account's Google calendar). These students will get a Spam-a-lot notification before the event to remind them it is happening soon. The publicity chair can view the email addresses of everyone who has added the event to their calendar by checking event details (note: the org throwing an event is the only one to have access to attendance information for that event; the Office of student life has access to attendance information for all events). Seeing how many people have added the event helps the Frisbee team make sure they have enough bake goods. The day before the event, the publicity chair sees they have 300 students attending their event, so the team bakes accordingly keeping in mind that other students will probably attend to. After they are finished baking, the publicity chair takes posts a picture of the baked goods and posts it to the team's Spam-a-lot wall to excite students about the sale. Thanks to Spam-a-lot, the Frisbee team has their most successful bake sale yet!
Jane Smith is a first year at Wellesley. It is the middle of orientation week and she hasn't made too many friends yet and she is having trouble figuring out when and where all the orientation events are happening. She has received multiple emails advertising events and has seen multiple facebook posts with flyers for events but she is having trouble keeping track of them all and cannot find a way to find an interesting event to go to that fits with her schedule. She heard about Spam-a-lot in her first year mentor group and she decides to give it a try. After downloading the application to her iphone and logging in using her Wellesley username, she finds the feed of all events happening on campus. After scrolling through this feed looking for interesting events, she realizes that she is busy Friday night but wants to find something to attend on Saturday. She clicks on the search button and searches for all events happening on Saturday. After scrolling through the list, she sees one that catches her attention: "Bingo". She clicks on the event which brings up a flyer describing the event and all the information she needs, including time and place: Saturday at 3:30. She clicks on the calendar icon on the page which adds this event to her google calendar. On Friday night she receives a notification email telling her that the Bingo event has been pushed back one hour and will now be Saturday at 4:30 and her Google Calendar is automatically updated. On Saturday morning, Jane receives a reminder from her google calendar about Bingo. She goes to Bingo and has a great time. She decides that she enjoyed herself so much that she wants to attend every Bingo event that happens on campus in the future. She goes onto Spam-a-lot and navigates to the profile of the group that sponsors Bingo, the Office of Student Involvement, and clicks on the follow button so that all of the office of student involvement posts will appear in her home page news feed.
John Doe is the Dean of Student Life at Wellesley College. He recently received a request on Spam-a-lot from the music organization on campus for a musical performance by the local town band. The org wants to hold the event on Friday at 6pm in Tishman Commons. John needs to figure out a good day to schedule this event on campus. He uses Spam-a-lot on his phone to check day-to-day events at Wellesley to see which days have openings for this musical act. He signs in to Spam-a-lot with his Wellesley email and is able to look at a calendar by month or week and see all events as well as their corresponding times and locations during that week. He sees that there is in fact an opening in Tishman. He proceeds to accepts the event request through Spam-a-lot, which automatically puts the event and its information (time, date, location) on the Wellesley events calendar shared by the entire community. On Monday night, John receives an urgent email from the music org president requesting the event to be rescheduled to the following Friday instead. John quickly checks the calendar on Spam-a-lot and sees that there is an opening at 4:30 PM on Friday at Alumnae Hall. He emails the music org president back asking if Friday at 4:30PM would work. Once he receives the ok and the new request form for the rescheduled event, he accepts it (which automatically puts the event on the public calendar). Then John uses Spam-a-lot to access the emails of everyone who added the event on their calendars and sends a mass email to them about the new time and location of the musical event. John emails the Org president back requesting her to remove the old event time from the public calendar on Spam-a-lot. After he receives an email alert from Spam-a-lot that the Org president has updated the calendar, John happily goes back to his nightly routine.
When the user enters the Spam-a-lot app, she is able to see detailed information about an event one at a time. Every time the user swipes up, a different event will appear on the screen (sorted by most recent if she doesn't put any filters in). If she wants to see multiple events at a time, she can press the button on the lower right and previews of 3 or 4 events will appear in a 3-D format. To search for a certain event, the user just has to drag the screen downward a little and a simple search menu will appear. When she wants to post an event, pressing the button on the upper right will bring a form over the current screen she's on. This type of design allows the user to perform simple tasks without switching between screens.
The idea behind this design is that the most relevant information for a student looking for an event is the events that are closest in time to happening. Thus, the home page is arranged with events closest to happening first and then as the user scrolls through the events, each coming day will appear with the events for that day. Additionally, the user can click an arrow on each event to expand it to see more information without navigating away from this page. On the expansion there is a button to add the event to the calendar. The add to calendar button is not placed on the home screen without the expansion in order to prevent adding events to a user’s calendar by accident just when trying to scroll through the events. If the user wants to find out more information than just what is on the expansion, they can click on the event title for a full screen flyer and information about the event. The search button in the corner of every page will allow easy access to the search functions. When clicking on the search button, a drop down menu of two items will appear: search for an event or search for a profile. Clicking on the “search for an event” item will bring up a new page allowing the user to enter specific requirements for the event. Clicking on the “search for a profile page” will bring up a page allowing the user to enter an organizations name or keywords describing an organization and will then bring the user to that organization’s profile page of events.
Spam-a-lot is a mobile app that streamlines the spamming experience. After the extinction of paper “spamming”, student organizations on campus are posting spam on several different social networking portals in the hopes of getting word out about their events on campus. The multiple spamming environments (emails, Google groups, social media networks, etc.) are overwhelming, difficult to navigate and easy to overlook - a problem that affects not only the organization hosting the event, but also peers looking to attend events around campus. Spam-a-lot makes it simple for users by bringing event searching and spamming into one platform. All events posted by student organizations are easily navigated, searched, and filtered by users. This application combines aspects of Twitter, Facebook, Google Calendar and Groups to create a unified events forum.
1. Search for events posted by Wellesley Wushu
2. Follow Wellesley Wushu
3. Sync Spam-a-lot with your Wellesley Google account
For Student Organizations:
1. Edit the Whiptails' public profile
2. Create an event
3. View Whiptails' list of followers
Observations From Pilot Users:
Most users found the overall interface to be intuitive, but there were some bumps along the way. Some users thought the tour at the beginning of the app was unnecessary and they would have preferred to skip that. One function that gave a lot of trouble to users was viewing a full image of the spam poster by sliding left. People had trouble intuitively accessing that page without help from any of us. Many used the plus icon to expand, but that icon was actually for adding event to calendar. The ambiguity of the plus icon made us consider changing it to a mini calendar icon instead. Lastly, many users were getting confused about exactly where they were in the app after navigating through a few screens. More specifically, users tended to forget that they were already in the home screen.
Observations From Users Outside of Class:
These users weren’t sure how to go about following an org, but just through trial and error they were able to get it right away. One user had trouble distinguishing the difference between Added, Following, and All sections under the Events tab. For the Student Org profile, one user suggested that we stay consistent with labels for the account register page. Instead of labeling the page “Sign Up” and labeling the button “Register”, she suggested that the label should also just be “Sign Up” to avoid confusion. Also, the user had a lot of trouble posting an event. The location of the add event icon was not where she expected it to be.
After observing the pilot users during class, we decided there were many designs and features that we needed to change before testing the prototype again. First, many of the users were confused about all the different “Event Lists”. For example, The Home Screen, the My Events screen, and the Upcoming Events all were very similar screens that displayed events but with different filters and were accessed from different places in the application. The Home Screen displayed all the events on campus, the My Events displayed all events added to the user’s calendar, and the Upcoming Events displayed all events posted by organizations that the user was following. It was very difficult for the user to distinguish between these lists and know which one they needed to look at and to find where each list was. Thus, we decided to change the home screen to be a list of events of all organizations on campus, ordered by posting time - more of as a news feed. Then, we changed the My Events screen to have toggle buttons at the top to easily switch between events added to one’s calendar, events of all followed organizations, and events of all organizations sorted by closest to happening. This way all pages were easily accessible and more intuitive for the user to understand. We also changed the design of the home screen so that it would be more intuitive of how to add an event to one’s calendar, of how to visit an organization’s profile, and of how to view the full size flyer for an event. We made these changes by switching the add to calendar icon from a plus to a calendar, making the name of an organization larger and a link, and by providing a small version of the flyer with the event description that a user can click on for the full size. Another point of confusion for users was the “My Orgs” button. Users who were acting as organization leaders and using the application on behalf of their organization, believed that the “My Orgs” button referred to their organization’s profile and events instead of providing a list of organizations that they were following. Thus we changed the “My Orgs” button to “Orgs” and then on that screen provided toggle buttons that would switch between “Followed Orgs” and “All Orgs” to allow users to easily access the profile of organizations that they are following and to look through the list of all organizations on campus to find ones that they are interested in. Because of the redesign of the event pages, a user no longer needed a settings page to access the different event pages. Thus, we removed that screen and just used the drop down menu from the user’s name for the logout button. Additionally, we had forgotten to include a follow button on an organization’s profile page, so we added one. Finally, the tour we had made to take first-time users through the application was too long and users seemed to be able to figure out the application without one. Thus, for this iteration we removed the tour to see how users would understand the application without one.
After observing the users test our paper prototype, we realized that there were several things that needed to be fixed in our interface. First, we considered making the individual account and Orgs account be a little more distinct from each other. Because users who were acting as org leaders were confused about why their org would follow other orgs and thought that the “Org” button referred to their org instead of the orgs that they are following, we might allow the Orgs users to only be able to post and search for events instead of enabling them to follow other orgs, add events to calendar, and so on. In addition, we will change the section names under the Events tab to RSVP’d Events (instead of “Added”) and My Org’s Events (instead of “Following”). We also discussed completely omitting the “All” section and adding search filter options under the Advanced Search screen so users can search events by time posted as well as by upcoming events. These changes will make it easier for users to navigate the app.
For all users, our computer prototype begins with the login page and, for new users, registration pages.
However, once a user logs in as either a student or an org leader, the interfaces will be slightly different. There are two main differences. First, all pages for an org leader have an extra plus button in the top left header in order to create a new event. Second, the org leader can edit their profile through the settings page, which an individual student user does not have. Other than these two differences the interfaces are the same. Thus, here we will only present all of the org leader pages.
This page is the homepage. Here a user can browse through all of the events most recently posted and add them to their calendar if they want.
This page is the events page where all events added to one's calendar can be viewed. There are currently no events here because none have been added to the calendar. Let's go add an event to our calendar.
To add an event to the calendar we can go back to the homepage and click on a calendar icon on an event. A confirmation window will then be displayed.
Once the user confirms that she wants to add the event to her calendar, the system confirms that it has been added to the calendar.
Going back to the events page under the RSVP'ed tab, we can see that this event has been added to the calendar.
Under the events tab we can also view all events posted by organizations that we are following and all events posted on campus by date.
Now, under the orgs page we can view all organizations that we are currently following and all organizations on campus. Clicking on an organization brings the user to that org's profile where all events posted by that org can be found.
Clicking on the search tab in the footer brings the user to a search page where they can search for events. Additionally, an advanced search is available to give the user more specificity for what they are searching for.
An organization can also create an event.
By clicking on the org's name in the header of every page, an org can access their settings page where they can update and edit their profile, as well as, log out of the system.
As mentioned before, each page on an individual account is the same as the page in an org's account except that it does not have the create an event button in the header of every page. For example, here is a student's homepage.
Log in and Registration Pages for Individual/Org Users:
Pages Accessible From the Home Page:
Create an Event:
Advanced Search and Create an Event button:
Org Profile and Full Size Spam Image:
Viewing and Following Other Org Profiles:
Spam-a-lot was created for CS 220: Human Computer Interaction by Rebecca Scanlon, Emily Tohir, and Jeannie Zheng during Spring of 2014 at Wellesley College.
The idea and original design (which has since been modified) for Spam-a-lot was initially conceived by the Social Media Innovation group for PSYC 304: Psychology of Creativity during the Fall 2013 semester. This team consisted of Emily Tohir, Vivienne Wang, Anna Van Munching, Chelsea Kim and Hillary Ayers.
The Spam-a-lot team would like to thank our professor, Orit Shaer, our TAs, Alex and Veronica for support. Additionally, we thank all participants in user study interviews.