Chris Eigner and Ildikó Tóth CS 560
Description of App
Clatter (Class + Chatter) is a web-based, classroom-focused chat application. Users and teachers can send messages, ask/answer questions, post relevant course material, and tag and search content. Chat rooms exist at unique, easily-bookmarked URL’s.
Description of Subjects
User 1 is 20 years old, female. Studies Aerospace engineering at Virginia tech. She is also a math tutor.
User 2 is 25 years old old, male. Works in media and is concurrently an online student in IT.
User 3 is a 27 year old male Linguistics Ph.D. candidate at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
The subjects liked the idea, but made it clear that it was very important for the app to be easy to use and set up - i.e. school would do most of the heavy lifting so the students would be able to log in and not have to set up their classes.
They also liked the features of tagging and searching. User 2 suggested to have a tab-like interface where the user list is, consisting of “user” “tags” and “uploads”. User 3 was particularly interested in tagging as a loose way to organize messages and files.
The uploads was something user 2 said would be helpful to really combine the functionalities of current online tools such as groups, class websites, etc.
The function of notifications they said should be customizable, specifically if someone responds to the user’s question - which both user 1 and 2 said should be indicated in a notification. These settings would be especially important, according to user 1 if the class is a really large lecture, where in the entire class chat, people wrote all the time, someone’s question could be easily lost, or notifications could get overwhelming. In the large lecture case, the notifications should be disabled. User 3 was quick to point out that many notification systems are naggy and was less interested in this feature.
Another function they would have liked to see is a back button, and an upload file button/option next to the chat input box.
User 1 mentioned that for engineering and math especially, another function that would be amazing is having a doodle-like interface that is zoomable - especially on a smartphone. Instead of just replying in a text-only format, she said it would be very useful to be able to scribble out math formulas, and graphs to respond to tutees questions. Although sending just the image is probably good enough she said, a further improvement would be interaction through this doodle interface, so the tutee could respond back using the doodle.
One limitation we have right now is that one user could only be in 2 groups at once: All, and one other custom group. Both users 1 and 2 indicated that is inconvenient, in case you want 1 person in a hw study group, and also in a project group.