London social media development

It was Wednesday evening so I went along to the Coach and Horses in Greek St, Soho to take part in an early user testing session for i-together’s new twitter and google maps mashup project. The usability test was run by Ofer Deshe of Flow Interactive who introduced himself as coming from a background in cognitive psychology, using techniques borrowed from ethnographical anthropology, so being chosen as the user to be observed was something of a privilege. I was sat in front of a laptop running a web service with no explanation or guidance, asked simply to explore and try to make sense of it. Well I just hope my slightly flummoxed attempts at navigation and comments provided some useful data.

Afterwards we had some wide ranging conceptual discussions which touched on ideas about public identity and personal security, activities or events as social objects, the natural development of some online communities into face-to-face meetups and much more. There’s still a fair amount of work to be done on the prototype service, both in explaining the concepts and making a winning user interface, but if anyone can do it then Luke, Benjie and Jof are in position to succeed with support from the vibrant and friendly London social media development community.

The Coach and Horses is also the venue for Social Media Caffe on Friday, and I was happily able to use the free wifi to update the cider wiki to mention the Westons Old Rosie currently on tap.

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