Kevin Breed

And so the story begins...

Overview of my first activities for the dating project

This article is the first part of the dating chronicles, where I report the findings of my research on Mediamatics dating site. It describes the first events and work that I have done for it.


kb_booted.jpg - working @ mediamatic Kevin Breed

With: Kevin Breed

According to the collective knowledge that is provided by Wikipedia "a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronoligical order" (, april 6 2009). Furthermore, the genre of chronicles can be divided in live and dead chronicles.

"A dead chronicle is one where the author gathers his list of events up to the time of his writing, but does not record further events as they occur. A live chronicle is where one or more authors add to a chronicle in a regular fashion, recording temporary events shortly after they occur" (ibid).

Because I have gathered a list of events (as well as notes, stories, experiences, etc.) which I still have to report, but also intend to regular report upon events in the future, these chronicles are stuck somewhere in the twilightzone between the dead and living subgroups. It is a strange compound of things that have happened and things to come, but the story begins with the first article I wrote about the datingsite.

The last time I wrote about the datingsite I was reading for six days (spread over about three weeks) whatever I could find about online dating. Basicly I was trying to put the time at hand to a purposeful use, while waiting for some directions from a very busy person who - as only person - could tell me what I was supposed to do. When the time was there, I deduced from the twenty minute conversation I was supposed to conduct an usability research on the datingsite, and get more familiar with it. Until then, as my criticism conveyed, I had indeed only created a (pretty scarce) profile, and had not yet used the message functionality myself. So I started doing two things: usability research and sending messages to other daters.

Approaching the dating site in these two manners kept me busy for about four weeks. I started to make a list of 'points of improvement', which quickly resulted in several short written propositions for things to change, which in turn quickly resulted in the creation of several mockup files to make the propositions visible. Within a week I was done with the 'new/edit profile page' and showed the results to the lab project leader (the lab is the section at Mediamatic which is concerned with soft- and hardware development). He told me it was a nice thing, but I first needed an approval of that very busy person, who at the time being was gone on a fieldtrip to Africa for about two weeks. I sent him an email with the question to shortly reflect on and aprove of the work that I had done sofar, but, as expected, I received no reply. I continued my work by doing the same for the 'search page' and started to sent messages to other date profiles.

After my first conversation with the very busy person I scheduled three more appointments. By the time the four weeks where over I had finished up the 'search page' mockup file which got me carried away a bit too far. When I started creating the first mockup file it was my intention to keep it simple. Just some HTML code, styled with a little bit of CSS markup to make the basic structure visible. When completing the search page I had (almost) fully styled every page and had written a substantial amount of javascript to make things as collapsable windows and sliders work in Firefox. Around that time, the second conversation revealed that this was indeed too much overkill and the usability research I was supposed to conduct should be limited to small changes that could be done right away.

By the time of writing I have made an overview of these changes and reported them in the trac ticket system that is used by the lab to keep track of bugs and tasks. I have also acquired access to google analytics to look up some statistical data, and administrator rights for the backend of Anymeta. I have made some textual changes to the dating profile page and gathered more insight in the way Anymeta works. I also have spoken several people who can perhaps offer me some more assistance than I have received untill now.

The first thing to do now is to really put through all the small changes. It becomes necessary to set out a realistic schedule for the things that can and should be done by different persons. This is something I can't do on my own, because it requires working hours of other people at Mediamatic. Another thing I can do is the thing I am doing right now: making the gathered information visible by writing articles. This is where the story ends, but at the same time continues.