Developed Proposal

Project Outline

The main aim for my assignment 2 project is to design and create a fully working application for Facebook. However realistically speaking, this will prove to be a difficult challenge for me and my personal technical abilities, especially as I will be embracing the field of PHP and technologies that I have previously never used or worked with before. What’s more, professional developers themselves do not always produce flawless applications to begin with, so with this in mind I can probably expect that my own application will take a great deal of work and progress to become effectively useable. 

Ideally I hope to be able to meet the demands of this project outline, because in doing so I can expect many personal benefits. Nevertheless at the very least I will certainly produce a finished prototype for my proposed Facebook application.

Target Users

My taget users will initially be users of Facebook whose profession or hobby is as a web designer – a profession/interest which I can connect with. Nonetheless if this application does become developed successfully, then there is no reason to say why a similar application for photographers or designers for instance might not be developed as well, and which can be used in the same way.

Market Research: Analysis of similar/exisiting Facebook applications

In order to gain some insight into the types of characterisitcs that make an application successful on Facebook, I have done some initial research into similar existing applications to that of my proposed idea.

‘MySpace Link’ – The MySpace link is a popular application that allows users to put screen grabs of their MySpace page onto their Facebook profile. This application is what inspired my idea for a portfolio application specifically for web designers, and therefore the objectives for both applications are the same: 1) To Promote something 2) To Attract attention towards something that reveals more about that user, or represents that user.

‘Blog Link’ – Designed by the same developer, the Blog Link appears to be a relatively new application that is an extension or adaptation of the original MySpace Link. Instead of putting a screen grab of your MySpace page onto your Facebook profile, with this application you can but a screen grab link to your blog. As a new application the percentage of users is relatively low, however with the popularity of Facebook and blogging combined, I can almost certainly see this application growing in popularity, especially with professionals such as journalists etc.

‘Top Friends’ – The reason why I have considered the Top Friends application is because it uses ‘skins,’ something which I may incorporate into my own application. The use of ‘skins’ with the Top Friends application is extremely popular and makes the application highly distinguishable on a user’s page – This is a quality I would like my own application to have.

‘Top Sites’ – Finally the Top Sites application is one that I came across when looking at the Top Friends application, and allows a user to put screen grabs of their favourite websites onto their profile. The application however doesn’t appear to be very popular which could be due to a number of reasons – I.e. It could be quite new, users might experience technical problems with it, however the reason why I feel it is not so popular is because it is quite broad. By this I mean that it may become more appealing if it was more focused, for example instead of just being ‘Top Sites’, it could be ‘Top Clothing Sites’ or ‘Top Music Sites’ etc.

Market Research: Would a web designer use my application?

Instead of just follwing my own judgement on whether my proposed idea would work well or not, I decided to contact an established industry professional through Facebook to see what their thoughts on my idea are, and whether or not they would potentially consider using the application on their own profiles.

My contact was Steve Firth, and below is a short extract from what I asked:

‘Im looking to develop an application for Facebook, and was proposing an idea which would allow web designers to put screen grabs of their work onto their profiles to promote themselves.
I was wondering what your thoughs on this idea are as a web designer (good or bad!) and would you consider using the application on your own Facebook account? if yes, why? if no then why not?’

Below is the response I got back from Steve: 

‘Yes i’d certainly use the app myself (would be nice to install a useful one for a change). Any extra links and exposure is always good, web worlds pretty saturated [mostly by bodgers] and anything that helps one rise above the bg noise is always welcome.As regards making it ‘commercially viable’ i’d consider keeping it quite open, don’t pitch it too tightly to a niche as if you miss it it’s pretty much end of story … if you kept it so that, for example other creatives could use it as a portfolio or even gen public you’ll probably get a wider uptake.If you’re being marked on just the app itself, that it works, forfills spec etc then keep the focus tight – that way you control the varibles that you’ll be marked on, take up being secondary.If you’re being marked on the ‘sucess’ of the app then flexibility is key, people will find use a general app for their purposes. Some gen thoughts:

You can go mad on javascript, facebooks dependant on it anyway (also with slow general loading times ppl wont notice the overhead)

Whilst your designing an app for webdevs, its the public that will ‘use it’ and public like shiney/popup things (am thinking ask’s use of url preview etc)

Any support for stylesheet switching so they can skin own portfolio? (cross url content is common on FB so isnt a security block on this)

Hope this is of help, feel free to msg/add me should you want to bounce any ideas off me or just fancy a webby chat.

gl with your app, it’s nice to see a some women coming into webdesign to balance off a pretty much XY world.

I feel that Steve has made several key points in his response that I can and should take into account, making this particular research quite valuable towards my assignment. For instance when he talks about targeting a niche or mass audience depending on the assignment criteria – I found this particularly important to consider. I also liked the fact that he too suggested the idea of using ‘skins,’ something that I have proposed but did not actually put foward to Steve in my original message.

A link to Steve’s company:

Other comments welcome


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