Design of the PROFIT Platform
The first step before the design and development of the PROFIT web platform was to create some early sketches of our ideas in order to discuss the platform features and functionalities. Then, having decided what gamification elements would be included in the User Dashboard, we proceeded with the design of simple, low fidelity wireframes of the user dashboard. These sketches and wireframes facilitated the discussion regarding the design and structure of the user dashboard, as well as the design of other parts of the platform. Additionally, the results from the analysis of our online survey were taken into consideration. For example, respondents mentioned user friendliness, visual appeal, and ease of use/navigation as important platform features.
Afterwards, we proceeded with the design of high fidelity mockups, which would help us to:
- Communicate our vision as regards the design and visual aspects of the PROFIT Platform and create dissemination material.
- Show the social interactions that will take place between the users of the platform, and we want to facilitate with our incentive mechanisms scheme.
- Design the rest of the platform (by expanding on user dashboard and the other initial mockups).
- Asses the design and find any shortcomings that we may want to address before the actual software development of the platform begins.
Some mockups of the user dashboard are included below (please click on the image for larger view). As already mentioned, it consists of a User Profile (public to other users of the platform), Activity Panel (private to each user), as well as a Recommendations Panel (private to each user). Quick access links will be included on the top menu. From there, users can also access their notifications and settings page. Each user’s reputation score (on a scale 1-5) and accumulated points from their activity on the platform will be visible on her profile page, below her profile photo, and alongside other useful personal information. We also added two graphs that depict:
- A user’s weekly impact on the platform, calculated as the number of positive ratings (above 3) they have received per week (Line chart).
- A user’s current level depicted on a gauge graph.
Other game design elements that will act as an additional service layer of the reputation system, enhancing user experience, include: “Badges” representing the awards that the user received for her achievements on the platform, and illustrated “owl” avatars that change according to the user’s level.
As regards the Activity panel, it is going to include a leaderboard showing a user’s ranking among close ranking users, based on her weekly accumulated points. It will also include a history of the user’s activity (posts, messages, polls, followers, watchlist, etc.). Users will be prompted to invite their friends to the platform using their social media accounts or via e-mail invitations, by appropriate messages, and win points. Lastly, on the recommendations panel, users will be able to find personalized recommendations on interesting articles to read, useful educational material, as well as other users with similar interests whom they could follow.
The Articles page – the main page of our platform – is displayed on the following images. There, users will be presented with articles both harvested from the Web as well as created by other users. They will have the option to view them organized by date, popularity, as well to view any articles posted by the users they follow on the platform. Recommended articles, as well as links to the financial literacy test will be visible on the right panel. Moreover, a “what’s new” section will inform users about recent activity on the platform, e.g. new questions posted by users, new learning material uploaded, as well as any new users that registered to the platform. Users will be able to create their own articles and polls, comment, rate, share, and add an article to their watchlist, so they may access it again later. Article statistics and other related articles will be visible on the right panel of an article page. Moreover, links to related educational material will also be provided. Indicative mockups of several pages of the PROFIT platform are included in the gallery below.