Information technology and social networks are transforming practically all the aspects of the world we live in including interactive design. As Edwin Schlossberg, author of Interactive Excellence: Defining and Developing New Standards for the Twenty-first Century, said, “True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it’s about encouraging communication” (Schlossberg 1998). We live in an era of communication; thanks to the boom of social media users are able to put a spotlight on the best and most popular content. Therefore, it allows two levels of communication: between a user and a system and between different users also known as “social interaction”.
For the purpose of this thesis “social interaction” will be defined as a way to encourage communication. Social interaction through the use of Facebook API is not limited to commenting and sharing content. John Ferrera author of Playful Design stated that the best way to achieve social interaction is to appeal to its human need. As Jane Bozarth mentioned in her book Social Media Training, incorporating social media tools in the educational applications will help learners become more aware of their own learning process, more mindful of and deliberate about their own learning, and encourage them to take ownership of learning and then apply it to their jobs. Moreover, effective use of social media in e-learning training applications can provide additional support for sustaining new learning and transferring formal training back to the workplace.
Nowadays almost everybody in the world has a Facebook account. We connect with social media through a series of devices. We have social media apps on our phones, tablets and computers. Social media is more than an “in” status for teens and young adults. Statistic by InsideFacebook.com show that 26.1% of Facebook users are between the ages of 26-34, 14.9% between 35-44, 8% from 45-54 and 4.6% from 55 – 64. More than 50% of Facebook users are more mature, older individuals. But what is the need of social media? Social media helps us stay connected in any aspect of our lives. This connection generates a third-party communication method created by and for social media. We can see this being applied today through the use of social icons in sites like Mashable that allow you to like, pin or tweet an article. By clicking on any of these icons a connection is established between the site, the site visitor and the social media platform. This connection allows you to share with the world what you think is relevant, interesting or simply fun.
Through the use of Facebook API, applications can provide users with more than just sharing with the world. By calling the Facebook API, applications can allow users to visualize one another and stay connected. Facebook API provides applications ways to build social interaction and fulfill its user needs.
Benefits of “Social Interaction”
Social media networks like Facebook provide users with social plugins in order to quickly allow a connection between your site, your site’s visitor and Facebook. Facebook offers the world a variety of tools through their APIs allowing your site to tap into your site’s visitor Facebook information. If Facebook offer millions of possibilities to build social interactions, then why do most websites only use like and comments when we can use Facebook API to shape digital things? By maintaining a connection with Facebook, a site can offer its visitors a better user experience, a customized “look and feel” and site engagement.
How are others dealing with “Social Interaction”
Technology giants like Google have already implemented “social interaction”; in 2009 Google released Google Social Search “[as a way to help users] find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web. But relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships and that is why they introduced Google Social Search”(“Update to Google Social Search” 2011 17,02). But not all systems have a robust community to support their “social interaction;” that’s why social networks are a handy and accessible way to allow systems to join the “social interaction” and benefit from it.
Social Interaction in Learning
Current learning models follow a grade scale; a question is right or wrong. This types of models do not reflect the level of knowledge acquire, in fact they reflect how well the user understood the question and the accuracy of their response. Nowadays, learning has move from the classrooms into the web. And is time to offer the learner a skillset rather than a grade. Game-based tests can provide a different model for evaluating success—one in which learners are allowed to retry as many times as necessary to complete the game’s objectives. What matters is the outcome—whether a person has mastered the subject matter or acquired the skill set needed to complete objectives in the game. Assessing achievement in this way also gives players the chance to reflect on their own satisfaction with their performance, and to put in additional effort before submitting their results for a final grade. This design further capitalizes on the sense of agency that games naturally create.
Establish a connection with Facebook API
User allows permission for the site to access their Facebook information.
Site taps into Facebook JSDK and Facebook Graph API to obtain user Facebook information.
Once the information is obtained, a function will parse the contents, compare them against the site preset, and generate the results.
By connecting with the Facebook API, a site will be able to provide a quality global user experience. The connection with the social network will allow the site to account for the human factors that affect interaction and interface design. The user information from the social network will factor in from the beginning. Facebook will offer the site information like first name, last name, gender and location, to name a few. This information then is used by the site to tailor the content presented to the user. For example: an educational site can show special offers and information triggers to people that were part of the military or are part of an organization that can offer them scholarships. The site can show a feed with the articles in the site that your friends like. Also, if the visitor has told Facebook that he likes soccer and is visiting a news site, then the sport’s section will load by default for this user.
This process differs from the concept of dynamic content because the system will not be drawing a route for the user to follow. The user information obtained from Facebook will allow the site to factor in the user interest, aptitudes and likes to enhance the visual, usability and technological qualities of an interface. The site will match up the user obtained input against six main qualities of successful user interface: usefulness, learnability, efficiency, ease of memorization, reliability, and user-friendliness to provide the user with a better user-oriented customized view.
Facebook Demographics Revisited. Ken Burbary. March 7, 2011.
Google, “An Update to Google Social Search.” Last modified 2011 17,02. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/update-to-google-social-search.html.
Schlossberg, Edwin. Interactive Excellence: Defining and Developing New Standards for the Twenty-first Century.Ballantine Books, 1998.
Ferrera, John. Playful Design. Rosenfeld Media. May 16,2012.