Zync – seems interesting; but the point is?

Today I was poking around and came across zync, which is “developing innovative software solutions targeting the ‘social search’ space.” I tried it out and had fun doing it. The site consists of what felt like hundreds of questions – mostly graphical and with a simple slider bar – asking me to rate various events, venues, activities and issues.

After posing several questions, the site made educated guesses about me – my gender, that I had traveled outside of the US, that I had ever attended a political event, etc. In the beginning the system reported a high degree of confidence in its guesses and most of them were right. (By the end, the confidence was lower, as were the number of correct predictions.)

When I started I thought it would be a fun 15-minute process. In the end, it took me at least an hour (probably more but I was keeping real close track of the time). The most frustrating thing about Zync was that at the end, it simply said, “Thanks! You’ve currently answered all of the questions we have to ask. Check back soon!”

That’s it. That’s it?

There was no explanation, no hint at what one might find if they came again, no nothing.

Having worked with eHarmony and Chemistry.com, I’ve had a fair amount of exposure to online profiling systems and there were things about this one that could definitely use some improvement.

Meaningful feedback on progress – there are questions in nine categories and if you click around you can find out what percentage of each you have completed; but not for the entire process.

Meaningful feedback on process – after I’d completed many questions I noticed that by hovering over portions of the page I got information on what percentage of people had answered in various ways. Know about this from the beginning would have made it more interesting.

Speed – the site presented one question at a time and the load times for each question ranged from instant to a time-out error. Putting multiple questions on each page and improving performance would help out a lot.

Results – I would have been interested to see how the system had profiled me. eHarmony and Chemistry provide reports on who they think you are. People like to see this kind of info; and given the number of questions Zync asks, they have to have some interesting profile categories that they could share.

Purpose – the biggest problem I have is that I’m still not sure of the point of the whole thing. Am I going to get customized content on events here in Boston? Are my responses (and the fact that I willingly sat through all of the questions) going to be analyzed as part a behavioral experiment? A little information would go a long way.

[tags]zync, social search, profiles, eHarmony, chemistry.com[/tags]

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