Project Proposal

  • Jun 14, 2012

High-Level Problem
When using Looking Glass, kids usually have an idea of what they want the characters in their worlds to do. They may not know exactly how to do this, but they can learn through remixing. The problem is that they currently have no real way of finding the most appropriate world to remix in order to find the action they want to use. The initial solution-manually tagging everything myself- will not work because I cannot realistically scan through every single entry to the community and decide on a few tags for it.

The tagging process must be self-sustaining and user-run to be realistic and efficient. I have to find a way to encourage kids to tag their own work. Motivating factors could include increased popularity of their worlds, more remixes and more “likes” on their worlds.

Why Finding a Solution Matters
The community site needs to be user-friendly, first and foremost. Getting specific and appropriate search results is important generally because it lets users feel comfortable on the site, and comfort is a big part of usability. But for kids who want to code their own world, the search function is crucial. Building code may be difficult for first-time users so remixing is an invaluable tool. But because randomly drawing code from different worlds is not necessarily what users want to do, it helps to have a way to find exactly the world they want to remix.

The search function is essentially useless without tags attached to worlds, and the only way to ensure the tags exist in the future is to make sure they are continually created. The primary way to attach truly focused and relevant tags to each world is to have the user who created it tag it before submitting it.

Because the main point of Looking Glass is to familiarize kids with programming concepts, and remixing is one of the main ways they can achieve this goal, the remix option needs to be as streamlined as possible. Efficient searching is important to the remix process because it helps kids find the world they need more easily, and in order to make the search function significant the worlds need to have adequate tags. Encouraging users to create their own tags for their worlds is an integral aspect of helping them remix, making it key to their ability to use Looking Glass to learn programming concepts.

How to Solve the Problem
The tagging option should be necessary in order to submit a world to the Looking Glass community. It should be a part of the process of submission, like writing a description or recording a preview. My goal is a self-sustaining tagging process that will give the community an expanded and therefore more useful search engine. In order to achieve this goal I plan to add a “tagging” element to the world submission step. This could go below the required description box and be the final step to complete before the “submit” button is enabled.

The tagging step may be difficult for the users because it may be hard for them to break down their entire idea of their world into a few key words. I believe writing a description after making the world helps the users focus their ideas into a few sentences. From there, it will be much easier to focus these organized thoughts into a few compact, descriptive words.

Even with each user tagging their own submissions, however, I believe community collaboration is necessary in order to have enough tags to fully describe any given world. I want to make an option on the show page for each world or challenge for any visitor (user or not) to add their own tags to the entry. This way, many minds can contribute to the task and each world and challenge will be more likely to have appropriate tags.  

Current Worlds Entry Page

New worlds entry page

Close-up new tag entry page

“Add tag” option on new world show page

Close-up “Add tag” option on worlds show page


  • caitlin

    caitlin said:

    <p>I think another thing you want to think about is how to grab tags out of the remix process. It's possible that making some piece of the text people enter during remix publically visible on the website will encourage people to make them meaningful. But you might also want to think about suggesting tags based on other tags people have provided that users can easily accept/delete or add to. As I think about it maybe having them in a grayed out form that users can click on to accept or add new ones might make it easy for users and encourage them to provide good info. And, we know if they've just accepted the default and can ignore that data.</p> <p>I really like the easy way to add it on the web page for each world. I don't know if people will add too many that way, but some probably will.</p>

    Posted on Jun 15, 2012
  • jordana

    jordana said:

    <p>Looks good. Pulling tags out of added characters ("bunny", "tree") or custom methods ("backflip") might be interested, as well as pulling out tags from remixes themselves. I wonder if world owners should have the option to approve tags create via the website. And what is the incentive for adding tags to a world that is not mine?</p>

    Posted on Jun 15, 2012
  • kyle

    kyle said:

    <p>I think you are thinking about the right space. But I don't think requiring the user to input their own tags will be very sustainable. You might want to think instead about the ways you can extract this information from what you are given... think you are the "Google" of Looking Glass worlds. Nobody gives Google tags (well... sorta...!?) they have to try and analyze a page to figure out what is really the content on the page. We should use this idea and try and extract this information from the say methods in worlds or maybe even think about how we can grab tags out of things like comments! I think are really thinking about the right questions, but you need to think about more passive ways to create your tags. Nice work!</p>

    Posted on Jun 15, 2012

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