Mobile.SocialXYZ v1 Results

Mobile SocialXYZ Home Screen

In my previous post, I introduced Version 1 of mobile.socialxyz. The system was released in June to my asynchronous online course on human computer interaction, a fitting setting for measuring human computer interaction of my software. Overall, the app achieved modest usage from the 18 participants in the course. Considering that coronavirus and quarantine has put a discount on mobile learning applications because why use the mobile version of the software when you are nearby a workstation, any levels of adoption of the mobile application was seen as a positive result.

A system survey found that 50% of the 18 participants stated that they used the mobile app frequently. This resulted in around 3,000 api calls made by the mobile application (a single api call is made for each and every screen accessed). This accounted for roughly 25% of all traffic across the entire platform (9,000 webpage views). Of those users logging into the mobile app, 65% accessed the app through iOS devices and 35% of students accessed the app using an Android device. Consequently, 16% of all content created across the platform was created through the mobile app.

User perceptions of the system were also captured. Of those users responding to the system survey, 78% indicated satisfaction with the mobile application compared to 100% indicating satisfaction with the browser-based system, 50% found it easy to use and 50% thought it was an excellent way to access updates by the instructor and classmates.

Mobile SocialXYZ

The summer HCI course provided a nice beta test for the application and helped to iron out critical bugs and improvements to be made for Version 2, which will be released in late August. Version 1 also allowed users to comment on the software and offer improvements for next release. For example one user identified that it would be beneficial to see comments from the instructor in the gradebook. Another user indicated that it would be useful to have the login persist instead of having to continuously log in. Both additions have been added to the latest app release. The comments features is illustrated in the image on the right and allows users to click on their grade to view a breakdown of the entire feedback left by the course instructor.

Mobile SocialXYZ
User Profile

Another nice feature added for Version 2 is a user profile screen, illustrated in the image to the left. As a social learning application, I thought it was important to allow users to view the basic background information of their classmates. Not pictured is the “Like” button at the bottom, which gives users an opportunity to leave a little bit of feedback if they want. Eventually, this screen will allow for greater levels of activity, possibly including a message wall and breakdown of user activity.

In conclusion, it was an initial good run through the software and I look for expanded use this fall with version 2 rolling out soon.

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Mobile.SocialXYZ v.1.2.9

After six months of mostly hard work, I have managed to deploy mobile.socialxyz v. 1.2.9 to both the Apple Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android. Overall, the v1 feature set is what I was aiming for and the app comes flush with push notifications, gradebook, quizzes, discussion boards, blogging and social networking.

With such a short timeframe to turnaround 2 native apps for iphone and android, I went with the React Native programming language using expo as my packaging software. In short, react native code is written in javascript, which made me fall in love with the language and its capabilities. I haven’t relied so much on javascript in over a decade, so it is fantastic to find such utility in the language. Expo was also a tremendous value. Expo is a packaging framework, that provides many dependencies and linking needed to deploy react native apps across iOS and Android. In short, it helped speed up testing on physical iPhone and Android devices. This, in turn, sped up delivery to Google Play and Apple stores.

The coding effort was pretty substantial and involved client-side app development along with server-side api development. The below table tracks the file count and lines of code per category.

Coding Stats

These numbers work out to around 11 months of effort for a team of 5, according to Mike’s Basic COCOMO Calculator. Not bad for a 1-person team in 6 months.

COCOMO Coding Effort

Below are some screenshots of the app, including assignments / gradebook, discussion board and quality analyzer and messaging screens.

Assignments Screen
Quality Analyzer
Inbox Screen

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SocialXYZ New Logos

While working on the mobile app for SocialXYZ and after many a few years, I’ve gone ahead and updated the logo image and icon image for SocialXYZ.

The icon, by far is my favorite. I’ve combined the share icon with XYZ. I think it works well.

SocialXYZ App Icon

The logo works too, I think. It’s simple and not as busy as the old one.

SocialXYZ Logo

I also created a header image for the mobile app pages. It’s simple so as not to distract when users are navigating the app.

App Header Image

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Web Intelligence Journal

My colleagues and I recently published our article, “Real-Time Visualization to Improve Quality in Computer Mediated Communication,” in Web Intelligence. Below is the word cloud of the paper. Below that is the abstract and citation.

Abstract. Within conversational media, how others perceive contributions affects his or her interactions with those contributions. This research explores a novel addition to conversational software, one that provides real-time assessment of quality across user contributions. An analysis of 2,157 online conversations examined attributes of quality, including lexical complexity and prompt-specific vocabulary. These factors helped to inform the redesign of an existing asynchronous online discussion board (AOD). More specifically, a real-time quality analyzer was constructed, which provides users with a visual breakdown of their post in relation to the overall group discussion thread. An experiment across two populations was performed and results found that the system increased overall levels of quality in conversations, while also increasing quality interactions across the system. The results were supplemented with survey data and a social network analysis (SNA), which discovered higher levels of system satisfaction and group cohesion.

B. Thoms, E. Eryilmaz, N. Dubin, R. Hernandez, S. Colon-Cerezo, “Real-Time Visualization to Improve Quality in Computer Mediated Communication,” Web Intelligence, v18(1), 2020.

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Research Talk at CSU Sacramento

Last week I gave a talk up in Sacramento in the School of Business. I was able to tour the campus and meet with the Dean of Business, Bill Cordeiro (previous Dean of Business at CI). Beautiful campus and very fun city. Below is the abstract of the talk.

Abstract: Design Science Research (DSR) focuses on the development and performance of computing artifacts with the explicit intention of improving the functional performance of those artifacts. In this talk, Brian Thoms will introduce his research in social software design. Dr. Thoms will present on the evolution of SocialXYZ, from its origins as a web-based social learning platform to its current state as a cross-platform Android and iOS application. More specifically, Dr. Thoms will discuss how historical data mining, real-time natural language processing and dynamic data analytics affords innovative capabilities for enhancing online conversations. Using recent case studies to illustrate, Dr. Thoms will showcase the art and science of persuasive design, presenting on real-time quality and sentiment analyzing software agents and their input for hybrid recommender systems.

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