Flash teams: on-demand design via expert crowdsourcing

PI: Prof. Michael Bernstein


Crowdsourcing offers design teams the opportunity to reach out to perspectives from thousands of others. However, crowds struggle with open-ended goals such as design, and homogenous crowds are in tension with the diverse perspectives of design teams.  We propose Flash Teams: crowdsourcing for elastic teams of diverse experts on design goals. Recruiting using expert crowdsourcing platforms, we focus on a “napkin sketch” scenario: starting with a sketch of a design idea, execute the entire user-centered HCI design process — low-fi mockup, heuristic evaluation, implementation, user study, and revised implementation — all in one eighteen-hour crowdsourced collaboration between design, usability and implementation experts. Flash teams benefit from: 1) elasticity, dynamically growing and recruiting new expertise as needed; 2) diversity, recruiting experts from practically any background; and 3) sprints, convening experts for minutes or hours rather than days. We are also creating team abstractions, which allows us to leverage the traditional computer science strengths of modularity and composition, for example combining napkin sketch design teams with teams of multimedia experts to create video prototypes. 

To evaluate Flash Startups, we will be comparing our approach to traditional online teams on controlled expert tasks.