Posts Tagged ‘research’

Into the deep end

Diman and Kat's dive by OksidorPool is a collaborative space created by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) where people can share, co-create, and collaborate.  You can create a profile, upload/download files, remix and reuse the ABC archive, collaborate with Radio National producter,  and search for resources. Recently an interesting document has been released called Pool user research which comes out of a consultation process and workshop. Some thoughts:-

  • the structure of the report is excellent and so I follow the headings of their sections in this post.
  • Pool is..what Pool is from the perspective of its users and stakeholders – there is still a conflation of users and stakeholders which I question because it seems to me that they are separate groups, and  it is a bit like  putting together shareholders (stakeholders) and customers (users) in a bank setting.
  • Pool users want to… (the motivations and goals of Pool’s community) –  and this is interesting – produce something, gather interesting stuff, belong to a media community, and be part of the ABC. It seems that here they have clearly identified what it is that users are there for and what they are doing when they are there.  Something worth noting in this section is that 38%  used it as a place to display work, 16% said they wanted to give their work a chance of being used by the ABC, 12% wanted to be recognised by the ABC, other came in on 10%, 8% to find inspiration, 6% to feel part of a community, and to find other artists to collaborate with and 4% to get recognition from other users.   The commentary states that users feel that the community is important as it motivates and attracts people who feel the presence of other like-minded people in Pool.  The stats though say that community is close to the bottom of the reasons why people use Pool.  Two things that stand out are the attraction of having a space to display work, and the drawing power of a reputable brand such as the ABC.
  • Pool should…resolve existing issues that current users have, address usability issues, communicate a purpose, and retain the level of engagement of staff, and warmth and support of Pool community managers.  Those users interviewed often commented that the responsiveness and helpfulness shown by Pool community managers contributed to a warm and welcoming ‘personality’ of Pool, and that they were willing to forgive any technical shortcomings because of this. Significantly the commitment factor of users is tied to the people  and processes that make them feel welcome.

This paper is really useful because it discusses issues that probably arise in every online community – what people come for, what they do once they are there,   and whether they are comfortable as a member of the Pool community, in particular,  the nature of the help and encouragement to continue.

I am interested in any comments about what strikes you about a friendly online community. What are the things that make you feel welcome or not? Does having the presence of someone in the background really count? Or are guides and how-tos just as satisfactory?