Crowdsourcing is often approached as a full-attention activity, but it can also be used for applications so small that people perform them almost effortlessly. What possibilities are afforded by pursuing low-effort crowdsourcing?
Low-effort crowdsourcing is possible through a mix of low-granularity tasks, unobtrusive input methods, and an appropriate setting. Exploring the possibilities of low-effort crowdsourcing, we designed and prototyped an eclectic mix of ideas.
In our first prototype, we built a browser extension that allows you to complete tasks while waiting for a page to load.
Getting tasks loaded and completed during the time it takes for a page to load is certainly feasible. A benefit of doing so is that the user is already disrupted in their flow by the browser load.
How passive can a crowdsourcing contribution be? Many sites implement low-effort ways to respond to the quality of a online content, such as a star, ‘like’, or a thumbs up. Our next prototype takes this form of quality judgment one step further: to no-effort feedback.
Using a camera and facial recognition, we observe a user’s face as they browse funny images.
There are social and technical challenges to a system that uses facial recognition as an input. Some people do not express amusement outwardly, and privacy concerns would likely deter users.
Perhaps our oddest prototype lets a user complete low-effort tasks coded into other actions.
Our system listens to the affirmative grunts that a person gives when they are listening to somebody –or pretending to. Users are show A versus B tasks, where an “uh-huh” selects one option while a “yeah” selects another.
Imagine Bob on the phone, listening patiently to a customer service rep while also completing tasks. The idea is silly, but the method of spoken input quickly become natural and thoughtless.
Can a person write with a low-bandwidth input? We provide a choice-based composer where users are offered a multiple choice interface for their next word.
By plugging into Twitter for its corpus, the phrases our prototype constructs are realistically colloquial and current. There are endless sentiments that can be expressed on Twitter, but much of what we do say, about one-fifth, is nearly identical to past messages.
As we continue to pursue low-effort crowdsourcing, we are thinking about how experiments such as those outlined here can be used to capture productivity in fleeting moments. Let us know your ideas in the comments.
Jeff Bigham, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Kotaro Hara, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
Peter Organisciak, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
Rajan Vaish, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
Haoqi Zhang, Northwestern University, USA