Facebook-study reveals what travellers want
Sanne Broeder, Bibi Eckhardt, Lotte Wierema, Maartje van Engelen and Esther Nijdam (all five students of Masters Communication Science) conducted a study in the week of 14 to 20 January, in the context of their research seminar (http://projectimpactvu . wordpress.com) and our project CitySDK.
The study was designed to gather information about travellers for the travel app that we are developing. This app should support users during their journey with up to date information. Traveldata provided by carriers will be combined with information that travelers themselves collect.
The broader objective of the study was to have a look at the experiences and needs of travelers. We wanted to know what kind of data our targetgroup wants to share and what kind of information is useful. We also wanted to know what is it like for travelers to share information whilst traveling. Is helping others in itself a reason to do this or is sharing only fun if you get responses? Based on these insights, we can optimize our app.
The app is currently programmed by developers Bert Spaan and Taco van Dijk and is in the development stage. For the research we had to make use of another medium. Facebook proved suitable because participants could share their experiences here in a specific space (e.g. a specially created page).
The respondents were divided into two groups: one group posted messages anonymously, the other group used an alias. Both groups found the participation fun, but the possibilty of posting under an alias proved an added value. The study also revealed that the participants especially liked personal stories if there are combined with messages that contain information. The initial motivation to participate was mainly to assist the study. It was during the participation that people experienced the value of the service. We will certainly use this insight in the development and promotion of the app. Finally, participants felt shy to post their experiences in the beginning, because they did not know if others were waiting for their contributions. An incentive for sharing information will therefore be important for a successful use of the app.
Many participants were a big fan of messages posted by ‘Mr. Chung ‘. And once started, it is proving difficult to stop sharing information. Because although the study was completed in a week, reports about travel experiences are still posted.
The City of Amsterdam and Waag Society are developing a travel application for Amsterdam as part of the CitySDK Mobility package. This is just one of many co-production activities being used in the CitySDK project to engage users in developing new citizen services.