Using game mechanics for field evaluation of prototype social applications: a novel methodology

In this paper, Amon Rapp, Federica Cena, Cristina Gena, Alessandro Marcengo and Luca Console present “a novel methodology to evaluate a social media application in its formative phase of design. Taking advantage of the experiences developed in the Alternate Reality Games, we propose to insert game mechanics in the test setting of a formative evaluation of a prototypical social system. As a use case, we present the evaluation of WantEat, a prototypical social mobile application in the gastronomical domain. The evaluation highlighted how the gamification of a field trial can yield good results when evaluating social applications in prototypical status. From a methodological point of view, gamifying a field trial overcomes the cold start problem, caused by the absence of active communities, which can prevent the participation of users and therefore the collection of reliable data. Our experience showed that the gamification of a field evaluation is feasible and can likely increase the quantity of both browsing actions and social actions performed by users. Based on these results, we then are able to provide a set of guidelines to gamify the evaluation session of an interactive system”.

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