TechMeetUp Movember 11

Yesterday I attended Movember’s @TechMeetUp in Glasgow. It was my fist time, and I loved it.
It is a great place to meet people doing amazing things, drink beer and eat pizza.

The speakers were all very interesting, but I was deeply amused by Alistair Morrison’s presentation: Mass participation mobile software trials in the “app store” age.

They are using a videogame (ios app) – Yoshi – for their research. They are distributing it through mainly through alternatives to the App-store cause it is easy to reach visibility.

Through the app they are getting tons of data – nothing that Zynga or others don’t do – but with it they are questioning the ethics of such a data collection and how it affects people.

For instance one of the trials was something similar to the following

“remember this is a university research project, we are collecting your data”
” and we believe you mostly play here”
 and after asked them how concern/happy they were about it.

Even more interesting than the users’ responses was the changes on their behaviour; and how the people who replied “very worried” were too engaged with the game as to give it up.

Other interesting points were

  • The undefinition of user. What can you consider a user? someone who plays once, someone who plays twice a week or someone who plays three times a day?
  • Behaviour patterns: getting to the point of splitting the videogames in two. For those who enjoy mechanics type A and for those who enjoy mechanics type B. I also wondered if at the point you have some clustering of users, the quantity of data analysed could be reduced  by defining different guidelines for data collection depending on the user.
  • Further engagement on evaluation: They involved people in online user feedback through in-game rewards , tried telephone interviewing but only got the less than 10 very very very keen users. Plus audiences are global and they struggled with the language.

I think the work they are doing is brilliant and their insights could easily be translated into guidelines for both policy makers and apps’ developers.

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