Across the Board is a social media platform for university students and staff to tailor their interaction with flyer boards and bulletin boards to share and receive information more effectively. Browsing a customized flyer feed, users only see services and events that are interesting to them, eliminating the stress and frustration of searching for relevant information on a traditional flyer board.
Users choose what they see by selecting their Interests. Interests include Categories (such as food, lab experiments, and concerts) , Organizations (such as Design League or Activities Board), and Majors and Departments (such as Physics, or Information Science). At any time, users can select or deselect their chosen Interests to adjust what they view. Flyers can be categorized by Most Popular, based on what has received the most “likes” by other users, Date, showing newest flyers first, or Cost/Reward, sorting by how much an event costs or pays you to attend.
Click on a flyer to view learn more about the event, including time, date, location, and host. From here you can "like" the flyer or follow the organization.
If you are interested in a flyer, “like” it to add it to My Likes, to view your favorite flyers in one place. Just like the Flyer Feed, “liked” flyers can be sorted by Popularity, Date, or Cost / Reward
Configure your account in My Profile. View your current and archived flyers, modify your interests, and add yourself to organizations.
To post a flyer, simply upload a PDF and enter basic information such as date, time, and location. After tagging it with any relevant Interests, publish your flyer to have it appear on users’ newsfeeds campus-wide. You have the option to post as yourself or any organization you are a part of. You can track the progress of your flyers from My Profile.
While Across the Board is primarily a web experience, it has a physical representation on campus as well. Screens next to existing physical boards feature the university’s most popular flyers, according to data from Across the Board.
We presented Across the Board at the final show for 51-241 How People Work. Visitors could use our poster to review our design process, and interact with a prototype of the product.
Across the Board is the result of an extensive two-month process of exploration, research, and development by myself, another industrial designer, and a communication designer. After choosing the improvement of flyer boards as our subject, we outlined our scope, objectives, and process with a Territory Map. We then identified our stakeholders, who became the subjects of our research. Research consisted of fly on the wall observations, student and staff interviews, flyer board progression photographs, pseudo-flyers, and user surveys
Fly on the Wall Observations
We identified several flyer boards around campus, and spent time camped out at each site observing the behavior of passers-by. We recorded how many people simply walked by the board, how many glanced at the board, and how many actually stopped to view them. We noticed that the overwhelming majority of students paid no attention to the boards, even when they were stalled directly in front of them, while waiting for an elevator or to be let into a classroom. Many students passed this time on their phones, which supported the conclusion that a mobile-friendly site was the best way to reach them.
Every day for two weeks we photographed the same six flyer boards across campus, and noted their differences from day to day. These differences included the number of new flyers, removed flyers, and expired flyers. We also took note of any interesting activity. For example, for a period of time, more flyers were added per day than were removed, resulting in the board becoming more and more cluttered. However, after a number of days, the board would be cleared of many flyers, as if someone had become frustrated with disorganization and ripped them down.
We conducted interviews with flyer viewers, flyer posters, and maintenance staff, including desk attendants and custodial workers, to learn more about the intentions and actions of each group. Viewers expressed that they rarely took the time to scan the boards, because they know it would take too long to find relevant information. Posters felt that using flyers to advertise was customary, but that they depended on social media to bring people to their event. While some are monitored for content, the majority of boards are not regulated at all, with custodians stating that they are instructed not to touch them.
To better understand the timeline of a flyer being posted and its recognition by viewers, we posted “pseudo-flyers” on each of our six targeted boards. The flyers were of different sizes (8.5”x11” and 11”x17”) and color schemes. we noted that the most tabs were removed the second day after the flyers were posted, indicating that it took around two days for a flyer to be noticed. As we anticipated, the larger flyers had been noticed more easily than the smaller. However to our surprise, the black and white flyers had the most tabs removed, rather than the brightly colored variety.
We distributed a survey to flyer posters and users, asking them questions such as had they had ever learned anything useful from a flyer,do they trust flyer boards to give them updated information,do they regularly check boards, and asked them to identify their primary way of learning about news and events. Although over 90% of people had learned important information from a flyer, indicating that flyers themselves are effective in relaying information, only 5% of those surveyed actually check the boards regularly for updates. Social media was the overwhelming majority of responders’ primary source for new information.