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Arti Villa Chandok
HCC 728: Online Communities
May 20, 2014
Hunt is location-based game platform to help people engage in new experiences, meet
up and make new friends all while collaborating on real-life rewards. In essence the
term ‘Hunt’ means to pursue new challenges.
Hunt relies upon Foursquare, a prominent LSA, to access its places database to enable
users to locate such challenges knowing the users current geographic location
coordinates through use of the Foursquare API .
Hunt is a spin-o" of SCVNGR and GrowndSwell (my prior failed student startup),
meshing other gamiﬁcation and social-driven motifs into play. The concept of brands
creating interesting challenges or hunts and asking users to participate for points, real
rewards or a challenge is similar to the SCVNGR game. Gamiﬁcation features such as
leaderboards, points and real rewards leading to coupons and discounts are also
secondary motivations to the game.
Foursquare API: https://developer.foursquare.com/
Another primary objective of Hunt is to help foster current relationships and introduce
users to new friends through existing networks. The physical meet-up of groups during
challenges is originally the purest forms of being social — it enables and encourages
you to meet friends in a physical space. Through new relationships on Hunt, you can
meet other hunters and gatherers alike as the network grows.
Hunt notiﬁes users of speciﬁc challenges through the inﬂuence of location and interests
and your friends network. While hunt encourages you and your friends to invite others
so the game primarily consists of friends of varying levels, it is open to other users as
Interestingly, there is a limit in each hunt group so users who participate will try to invite
their inner circle to join quickly. If the hunt is ﬁlled, there might be more hunts of similar
nature. The theory as explained brieﬂy is to create incentives for users to hunt with
friends simultaneously engaging within a heterogenous mix of friends.
A key design incentive to limit hunt groups is to encourage direct communication
among the hunting group so users can make plans engaging in social camaraderie.
Following is a list of tasks a user can accomplish:
1. User can sign-up and login via Facebook. The application request at minimum a
username, proﬁle picture, user interests (likes on facebook) as well as friends to
improve and personalize their user experience.
2. User is notiﬁed of interesting and stimulating hunts based on location, interests and
3. User can join hunts, invite friends on hunts, and chat with hunt groups to plan the
challenges ahead of time.
4. User can also mutual friends activity log upon joining and completing hunts.
5. User can only join the hunt if the hunt has not reached it limit. While each hunt sets
a deﬁned limit on the number of group members, past invited users regardless of
limit can still join. This keep the groups relatively small encouraging users to chat
with each other while still maintaining a heterogenous mix of friends.
6. User can view their scoreboard ranking across their ﬁrst level social network and an
interchangeable group of hunters whom they might have completed recent
challenges with. While a set number here is not deﬁned a moderately relevant date
such as last 2 weeks can be deﬁned.
The highest target group of users on Hunt will mostly likely be from early teens to
young professionals. Di"erent incentives create engagement for a varied age group
and the independent use of leaderboards and mayorships vs. location social discovery
bring the game ﬂexibility. LSA users generally tend to be younger and more trendy
evangelizing new products especially those that are built upon with a game layer.
Check-Ins might have been the latest hit giving companies the next funding cycle or
million users, it was also 2009. In 2014, check-ins are tedious and another fad for new
users. Technological improvements allow user to be located with such accuracy, that
upon joining a game, we can give points without them having to engage with menial
tasks. Rather, Hunt will allow users to engage with experiences.
Hunt can have several use cases and following are a variety of hunts to explore. Get
your gathered together.
1. Visit 5 di"erent wineries in the Sonoma Valley and receive a free guided tour on
your next visit.
2. Find 5 other users wearing the Nike2.0 and share across your networks and we’ll
give you 10% o" your next Nike purchase.
3. After eating your burrito at Chipotle, make an origami with the tin foil left over and
get a free drink at the counter.
4. Visit the MOMA gallery and take 5 snaps of art on the wall to learn the secret
stories behind it.
5. Join us at Madison Square to watch the NFL highlights and we’ll donate $10 to the
cancer research center.
BONDING AND BRIDGING SOCIAL CAPITAL
At the heart of Hunt, a core objective is to enable users to build both bonding and
birding social capital. Hunt group messages enable users to meet new friends which
leads to birding social capital while private challenges and direct cheers, challenge
invites or messages to users build bonding social capital.
Hunt encourages you be selective of your friendships so you feel conﬁdent to
broadcast much information. With location-data being blurred, and users generosity to
share their information, hunt wants to push boundaries to explore if the the users
would opt-in for an all-in or all-out strategy.
A core features ripe for criticism is the chat sessions built into the application. When
hunt groups of 15 users are formed and the limit is reached, users can choose to either
message the entire group to plan or message an individual. It’s encouraging users to
be more exploratory with new friends.
Sharing which challenges users joined or completed was a little more personal since it
severely depends on the hunts created by businesses. It could be a visit to the doctor
or spa which users might be uncomfortable to share as studied through other LSAs.
With this decision in mind, users are allowed to make challenges private and invite
friends only with no group limits. Any broadcast message on private challenges are
only previewed to private friends corresponding to that single challenge.
SOCIAL-DRIVEN OR PURPOSE-DRIVEN
Hunt encourages users to plan activities and play challenges with friends. Features
such as dedicated chat rooms for each challenge limited to ﬁrst-come-ﬁrst-serve and
invitations allow the receiver to decide if they want to join makes the application
purpose-driven and utilitarian.
Contrary, majority of the application is social-driven. Users are sharing their location
(challenges are posted along with general location information) so that they appear
more interesting to others in their social network. There is only minor blurring of
location, similar to other prominent LSAs (location sharing applications) and is a means
for impression management. Geographic location data-points on Foursquare tend to
track the generic business address rather than a the speciﬁc user location.
This is a brief description of the screens provided in the prototype application:
Hunt: A collection of hunt cards based on user preferences, location and friend
invitations. Users can see the the general hunt info on the challenge description, start
or end date, number of people on the hunt and location.
Menu: You can continue to add or invite new friends, set advanced privacy settings,
and a description of older hunts that have ended, dismissed or completed.
Rewards: Any real rewards received from participating in hunts.
Score: A list of friends and your ranking against them the the duration of the last active
Activity: An active feed of what is going on around your social circle - utilizing their
instant updates such as joint or completing a hunt.
How to Hunt: Basic description on how to play the game.
I asked a wide variety of friends and acquaintances to experience Hunt using the Flinto
prototype (designed for Nexus 5 screens) and then conducted brief informational
interviews. Questions were weighted on aspects of online community rather than
usability studies or solely on design aesthetics. Visual designs were also maintained to
a minimal to gain insight on the context rather than critiques on aesthetics.
A wide variety of questions were high-level so as to not skew the user to a certain
perspective. Instead of asking if they were comfortable with sharing plans with other
friends, I simply asked them regarding privacy in general. If they were not aware of a
speciﬁc feature, due to the static data and limited use cases animated on prototypes,
more enquiry was done after giving them some more insight into the use of the
application. I got a lot more interesting observations through open-ended questions.
Heres is the link to the survey monkey questionnaire:
1. What did you think about the application? Where and what time of the day would
you use it the most like browsing hunts?
2. Would you like passive notiﬁcations based on location and interests or would you
prefer to actively ﬁnd hunts when you’re available?
Hunt Prototype on Flinto: https://www.ﬂinto.com/p/73c69a55
3. How comfortable are you engaging and sharing with 2nd level of friends.
4. Why were your primarily motived to play hunt? Did you want the rewards, want to
meet friends-of-friends or meet up with friends and do something?
5. If it as a combination of the above motivations from a scale of 1-10 (10 being the
highest) rank each of them on the scale.
6. Are you interested in seeing your score compare to others? If you do decide to play,
would you want to try to rank higher or you’ll just be playing and don’t care about
7. Would you prefer an invitation based system only or a hunt limit to each challenge?
8. What kind of challenges would you be most interested in? Taking #selﬁes with
monuments around the city and learning about them, taking pictures of art pieces to
learn the history on them, wine tours and snapping pictures?
9. Have you used any of the prior check-in apps before? If so, would you want to
check-in here as well or just expect the app to do it for you if it were possible?
10. Once you know a friend is going, would you be interested to message them in the
app with all other of their friends, or would you be interested in messing them
11. Considering you can’t really make certain friends private in this app, would you use
12. Are you comfortable with the application showing the location only to people who
join or to everyone?
13. Would you be motivated to bring friends to these challenges? Why or why not?
I collected data from around 12 users who are current active or were past users of
Foursquare. The sample mix is biased since the users are friends or acquaintances I
had asked for a favor however as a prototype version, users were asked to be as
candid with their answers.
Friends vs. Strangers
It was interesting to note the friends to strangers ratio on each of the hunts received a
mixed review. While I expected users to want higher friend groups over strangers due
to the nature of location mapping.
Again, it was astonishing to note over 80% of users primary motif to play hunt was to
meet new friends through existing friends. My assumption on utilizing an existing
network of friends to join new social circles is conﬁrmed as a reasonable hypothesis.
Check-In and Privacy
Even though the friends groups added on Hunt are a relative portion of a group from a
users existing social network, it was interesting to note a divergent 50% equal split
between users who wanted to check-in automatically vs be notiﬁed a check-in can be
made. The assumption that certain locations should remain private is still an accurate
reﬂection researched from past papers.
A possible design consideration here would be to allow the users to select either of the
check-in methods from their menu settings.
Challenges with Friends vs. Brands
Based on this ﬁnding, I would consider adding a mix of user-generated challenges
since they have an entirely di"erent motif. 75% of the users wanted both and this
would be an exciting insight that di"erence ties this version of play from the original
Large Hunt Groups vs. Limitations on Hunt
This is still an area that might further need some clariﬁcation since users mentioned it
depends on the challenge. Some might loose interest in large groups while some
believed a small group makes it more personal. A quarter of the users did not give a
response since they probably weren’t sure or might have had to think through and
potentially skipped the question.
Further breakdown of scenarios here and asking what group sizes or asking what is the
group size of existing actives might lead to some insight into this area.
Time of Day
Boredom, weekends or during the relevant location or time were most popular.
While I also sent out twitter surveys to users who used SCVNGR prior to its inactivity, it
was di#cult to get users without an incentive. I do believe with a small gift card reward,
I can improve upon the sample size.
Based upon the ﬁndings, I’ve mentioned some changes and some additional research
that would need to be done on speciﬁc areas. A live prototype with a broad sample
size will also be crucial to design for real people.
14. SCVNGR: http://www.scvngr.com/
15. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
16. Karen P. Tang, Jialiu Lin, Jason I. Hong, Daniel P. Siewiorek, Norman Sadeh.
Rethinking Location Sharing: Exploring the Implications of Social-Driven vs.
Purpose-Driven Location Sharing
17. Janne Lindqvist, Justin Cranshaw, Jason Wiese, Jason Hong, and John
Zimmerman. I’m the Mayor of My House: Examining Why People Use foursquare -
a Social-Driven Location Sharing Application
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