Sunday, January 04, 2009

New users on the portal and resource discovery

I looked at 18 new users on the portal, and studied resources that they bookmarked. I wondered how many of these resources had previous annotations by users? By annotations I mean that previous users had added ratings on them and Favourited these resources. If this is the case, it's clearly shown on the portal.

But are these annotations persuasive? Do they help users make their decision better or faster?

I had two sets of data:
  • last 3.5 months (Aug to Nov 17 2008)
  • Nov 18 to Dec 18. This are my 18 users who had bookmarked 114 resources.

Out of these results, it seems that 2/3 of the resources that these new users bookmarked had no previous annotations on them! I have to verify this finding, because currently I lack data from March to July to see what was bookmarked then.

Table 1

Anyhow, let's see what the current mini-study holds. Out of the third of resources that were discovered by this group, about 25% had previous annotations on them. They were mostly done by users before this group got initiated on the portal, however, some were also discovered thanks to the bookmarking by this group.

Only about 8% of resources were discovered through a special list called "Travel well" resources. These resources have been added there by "EUNRecommender" which currently is hand operated, but mainly based on picks by other users from at least two different countries. I find this figure rather surprising, as this "Travel well" list is the first thing that the user sees when they come to the portal.

Anyhow, I find it cool that 25% of bookmarks by this group were resources that had previous annotations. What we cannot say, though, is whether these users could have found these resources without these annotations displayed publicly on the search result list. However, I think that my measures like "pick-up rate" and "overlap" among Favourites will help me sort that out.

Here is a visualisation of this. The huge node is "sos-rec" which means that these resources were previously annotated (rate, bookmark). What is called "EUN Recommender" are resources from the "Travel well list". Other than that, the new users are the nodes which are connected by edges to resources that they have bookmarked.

Right from the bat, we can see that 5 users had taken their totally own trails and bookmarked resources that no one had bookmarked before - quite cool!

Additionally, there are few users on the lower right hand corner who are only connected to the whole graph through one resource (user: 192682) and (user: 217391).

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