Designing a Layer for Communication and socialization for Digital Natives within a Digital Library
is my Master of Art thesis
on which I have investigated and put to test some theories and based my design decisions on the results I achieved through the use of multiple design methods such as Participatory Design, User-Centered Design, Genius Design, and etc.
This thesis is a report of a research and design process for creating a layer for a certain Digital Library; a layer that allows users to communicate and socialize with each other within the environment of the Digital Library. Also, the effects that this layer could have on the users’ behaviors, social lives, and private lives, were evaluated.
In the process, the most-visited Digital Libraries have been introduced and examined. Furthermore, they have been compared with each other using a united framework. In addition, the user group has been chosen, analyzed and categorized. According to that, International Children’s Digital Library has been chosen as the most suitable Digital Library for the target user group.
Through series of prototypes and workshops done with a selection of user group representatives, design decisions were made and tried out. The final outcome of these workshops is a prototype layer for International Children’s Digital Library that allows users to communicate and socialize with one another. As a further matter, the potential effects it could have were explained.
The question is how can the layer of sociability and interaction between users be introduced to a digital library; in addition, what effect will this layer have on the users?
I started the journey by looking into the theories about the subject. Specifically, the theory of “ Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants ”
by Mark Prensky
I also look into the most famous and used digital libraries in the world. I found The World Digital Library
, and International Children’s Digital Library
to be on the top of the list.
During my investigation into the existing research done on the subject, I came across papers about the subject of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants
as well as work done based on the theory. It was a large project, which started in 2001. The group involved in this project consisted of a few professors from the University Maryland, a group of graduates, a team of programmers, and a group of 7-11 year-old children. Later on they had a team of volunteers, a group of authors and publications, and a number of institutions helping them. The professor who has published a number of papers based on this project is Dr. Nancy Kaplan
and after a while I managed to get in contact with her and she guided and helped me through the course of my project by giving me access to some of their research materials and also the prototype.
Part of my initial stage of research was to investigate users’ behavioral habits when given reading tasks. Including reading for pleasure.
Some of the subjects that came out of the first workshop were:
- The need for a platform for communicating
- Tools for annotations
- Having discussion groups for books
- Visual means to express opinion
On the next step of the project I prepares for a workshop with a group of Digital Natives.
This group of students were from different European countries and were at the time living in Sweden and attending Baladins International School.
We tried out different features.
They added features and sketched out how those features should look on the UI. For instance, as presented in this picture, they suggested the ability to add images and change the book illustrations on this layer. Of course, all changes would not happen in the original copy, but rather only appear on the layer.
Repurposed some of the materials and used them as a representation of a concept. For instance, they picked up the envelopes and used them for content that are private and only a few have access to them.
Amongst the materials I was given access to by Professor Nancy Kaplan, was access to their final prototype called “ Alph ”
In the next phase I started making the HI-FI prototypes and wireframing based on the information I gathered from research, interviews, workshops, and analyzing Alph
Once you enter “ Socialize ”
layer, you can either choose to create a new group or enter an already existing group that you are a part of.
If you choose to create a new group, you have to enter a few information such as name and an email address.
One of the most important subject that came out of the interviews and workshops was the subject of rules.
Once the group is created, you may choose to add group mates. You can do that by sending a request to their email.
However, if you choose to enter an existing group that you are already a part of, you will have to enter your username and password.
When using the layer you can write comments and choose to have them locked so that no one but the admin (in this case the teacher or the librarian) can edit them or leave a comment under your comment.
You can add images and vote for the images that have been uploaded by your group mates. The image with the highest vote gets to be the image that is visible in your layer.
You can also customize your annotations and use emojis.
We used the last prototype for a reading assignment at school and received positive feedback. The reason why I chose the name KAIEbook
is because of the initial group of students who agreed to take a 15 minute lunch instead of a 75 minute lunch to help me. Through out the project and for every workshop the number of the students who wanted to join increased, but Katie, Isabelle, and Erika were always there. So when it came to choosing a name for the final product they suggested K
rika = KAIEbook