I consider the challenge of Databoard.me to be two-fold: half about design and half about development, and I place equal weight on both sides. From the design perspective, there are obviously still a lot of refinements that could take place. In a product review session with the founder of mobile app Piictu, he expressed very positive impression on the overall design and flow, but pointed out that the project is not focused enough. “It is dangerous trying to solve every problem,” he said, “you should figure out that out of the many possible user cases, which one is the most likely to gain traction.” Of course he is coming from a purely startup point of view, but it is that I have been concerned ever since the project started. I intentionally wanted it to be open ended and wanted the users to explore and experiment. But the situation could very possibly be like this: if I never get enough traction, then I will not even be able to reach the niche group that I am targeting for. Perhaps it is indeed necessary to start out with a clearer focus and give users explicit directions on what they should do.
On another occasion, after a presentation, a critic with venture capital background raised the issue that the project lacked a marketing mechanism that can build up the traction in the early adopters. He suggested that I could integrate social sharing features more deeply into the system - since users have already authorized those applications, it would be a waste not to do so. And when they share individual visualizations, there should be a button below says “Get yours at Databoard.me” to drive traffic to the site. This is a fantastic suggestion and I have added it to the next steps list on Trello.
Addition to these feedbacks from critics and testers, I have planned another few features for the near future: 1. More graph modules and more customizable options for each module; 2. The ability to embed Databoard.me visualizations on external websites; 3. An API to allow other developers to write their own modules for Databoard.me.
From the technical perspective, I feel that I have been successful in implementing the front-end user experience as designed. The only drawback being that my back-end skills is not as strong as front-end, so the database code is not as efficient as it could be. The next step would be to implement a crawling system that efficiently sync user data without causing noticeable delay.
Evan is one of the students in the Entrepreneurship class that I’m teaching at Parsons. I’m eager to see where he plans to take databoard.me next. It’s nice work.