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Small Funding A/B tests
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CHRIS SMITH GETS FUNDED

At a Deshpande networking session, a foundation director told us:

	"We don't care about your project, I mean it would be nice
	if you succeeded, but what we really care about is you. If
	this idea fails, we'll fund other one of your ideas in
	the spring."

If you look at the Deshpande site:

 http://www.uml.edu/mvsandbox/default.html

...the quote makes sense. Deshpande builds student leadership,
entrepreneurship, connections and confidence to develop the regional
economy.

A/B TESTING BETTER THAN GUESSING
Deshpande is funding Chris Smith, a UMass Lowell Computer Science
student, with $500 to set up a framework to measure MVHub usability.
Deshpande's funding for Chris covers materials, not wages.

In the next month, Chris will set up A/B testing scaffolding and as a
separate project deploy http://mouseflow.com/ on MVHub and
Northshoreportal.org .

A/B testing is better than guessing. You slightly change the interface 
and see if that slight change improves a "conversion". A conversion is 
a measurable change in the user's actions.

In the for-profit world, a typical conversion is a sale. If more 
people click the red "buy now" button than the blue "buy now" button, 
you know red buttons are better. Our goals are harder to measure.

One of our draft conversions is: "clicks on a search result". 
Increasing clicks on a link called: 'Recovery, Alcohol Addiction “ 
might mean that we've helped more people get counseling. Increased 
clicks might mean that we've made the link more attractive without 
making it more relevant.

“Helping people” is harder to measure than “increasing revenue”.

By the way, Lara Swanson gave a 
great talk on A/B testing at the UML CS Dept Colloquium a couple weeks 
ago.

Sean:

http://thecsl.org/go/fake-blog/more-happy-users.shtml

... got us pointed to mouseflow this summer, but didn't have time to 
implement it. Mouseflow software will store little movies with exactly 
what visitors do with their mouse and keyboard each time they visit 
our sites, without capturing people's identities and raising privacy 
issues. We're looking forward to replacing guesses with data.