Usability Scenarios for Microsoft Vine
Article by George Norman
On 15 May 2009
The Vine societal networking concept launched by Microsoft, the one that entered Beta testing phase over a month ago, the one that the development team does not want us to think of it as “Twitter on steroids”, can prove to be quite useful, as long as we have the right usability scenario in mind. Now that the world has been introduced to Vine Beta and pretty much every Microsoftie out there knows what the notification system is capable of, the Vine development team has come out to emphasize a few usability scenarios.

“There's been a lot written in the press lately about how people will use Microsoft Vine. Many of the articles, like this one, talk about Vine's potential to help people in emergency situations. Helping people and communities in times of crisis is an important part of our mission. But we built Vine to be useful in everyday situations, too. We believe that the only way you'll ever use Vine during an emergency is if you're already familiar and comfortable with it in your everyday life,” explains the Vine Team.

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The usability scenarios that the Vine Team had in mind for this software application are as follows:

Childcare help
You can use Vine to rapidly find someone to give your sick child a ride home from school, for example, because you are stuck at work. A Vine alert is automatically sent to all your emergency contacts, meaning that you do not have to spend a lot of time emailing and calling people up; the Vine notification will be sent to your emergency contacts via email, text, as well as via Vine itself. The other great thing about Vine is that one of your contacts agrees to help you out by providing a reply to your request, all your other Vine contacts can see that reply and know the matter has been solved.

Stay connected with trusted neighbors
“When you go out of town or on vacation, use to Vine to "Post a Report" of your upcoming plans. Ask trusted neighbors to keep an eye on your house and let them know how to reach you while you're away. Vine provides many pre-populated reports to choose from. For example, when cars get broken into, you can post a report of suspicious activity. Or, you can report an upcoming event, like a backyard BBQ,” explains the Vine Team.

Report last-minute field changes
Let’s say that you plan an outdoor event, but something unexpected comes up and you have to call it off. Contacting all the people that were supposed to attend could prove to be a hassle, but with Vine it need not be. All you have to do is send out a Vine notification and just as in the 1st usability scenario, presented above, it will be delivered via Vine, email and text message.

Just in case you are not already aware of this fact, here is how Microsoft describes the Vine notification service: “Stay in touch with family and friends, be informed when someone you care about needs help. Get involved to create great neighborhoods, communities or causes. You select the people and places you care about most. Use alerts, reports and your personal dashboard to stay in touch, informed and involved. Information associated with the places you have chosen will appear on your map, including articles culled from 20,000 local and national news sources as well as public safety announcements from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Information associated with the people you care about who are in your Vine network will appear on the dashboard too. You will know when they send you an alert, post a report or update their Facebook status information.”



Tags: Microsoft, Vine, Societal Networking, Notification Service
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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