Terpslist – UMD’s Online Classifieds

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Group Members (listed alphabetically)

First Name Last Name
Mike Altebrando
Kevin Doran
Stephanie Nacios
Tania Thawley


Terpslist is the University of Maryland's online forum for making one Terp's trash another Terp's treasure. The main idea behind Terpslist is to create an online environment for both UMD students and faculty to exchanges goods and information with an emphasis on sustainability products. Students would use this to exchange items such as textbooks or old furniture. Both students and faculty could also share information about publicly available goods (such as links to other sites where goods can be purchased). Now students and faculty can come together to trade items and ideas on how to live greener.


Register / Create Account: Accounts will be linked to users’ University IDs. A user must provide a valid UID and password to login. On the first login, users will be asked to register by providing some personal information, mainly their contact information for other users to use to get in touch with them regarding items they post.

Login: To view account information or make posts, users will have to login. They will do so through the homepage or the login page by providing their UID and password.

Edit User Profile: Users will have the ability to edit their profile, so that they can keep their personal information up to date.

Logout: The user can logout at any point by clicking the logout link.

Use Help Page: The help page will explain in detail how to perform all tasks on the site. Every page on the site will contain a link to the help page, so that users can get to it from anywhere, even if they are not logged in.

Post an item or a listing: Any registered user can post an item or make a listing. To do so, the user would have to provide a description of what is being offered. If it is something being sold, the user can list a price or leave it negotiable. An optional photo can also be uploaded.

View own items or listings: Since an account is required to make a posting, all posts are tied to a specific user. Once logged in, that user will be able to view his or her account settings as well as view a list of all postings with the option to edit, update, and close those listings.

Close an item or a listing: Once a user has sold or gotten rid of a posted item or a certain listing becomes dated, the user will be able to close the listing so it does not show up in any more searches. Since purchases are not done through the site, this is necessary to keep sold items out of the active list of postings. In order to do this, the author of the post must be logged in.

Edit a posted item or a listing: The user may need to update a listing that they have previously posted. Reasons for doing so include correcting a typographical error and changing an item price. Once logged in, the author of the post will have the ability to update the posting as necessary.

Browse recent listings: The user wants to be able to view any recent listings that have been made by other users. A user would want to do this because they may not have anything specific that they are looking for and would like to quickly browse through any recent items that may be available to see if any peak their interest.

Search item by keyword: The user wants to be able to search for specific items on Terpslist. This would allow them to use Terpslist to find a specific item they are looking for, and to be able to locate it fairly quickly and easily.

Search item by user: The user wants to be able to view another user’s listings. They may want to do this if they find that another user is getting rid of many items, or has many items available that match their interests or needs.

Contact another user about a listing: The user may find an item they are interested in purchasing, and will want to contact the user who posted the item. To do so they will be able to send an email to the user who posted the item.

User Scenarios

Scenario 1: Shannon is a senior at the University of Maryland and is going to be graduating in less than a month and moving back home to New York. Because Shannon lived in an off-campus apartment for her last two years, she had to provide her own furnishings. When Shannon first moved in two years ago, a friend of hers had given her old furniture to use. Most of the furniture is fairly cheap and not worth keeping, so Shannon would like to get rid of it, preferably without having to travel or worry about suspicious people contacting her. Her roommate tells her that she has heard of a website, Terpslist, which would let her create listings to sell or give away her old furniture to other UMD students or faculty. Shannon is unfamiliar with a service like Terpslist because she prefers to do things offline as much as possible. She visits the website and accesses the Help page to find out how to sign up for an account, and finds that she can simply use her University ID and password. Shannon logs in and is asked to fill out an initial form to indicate her current contact information, and then finds herself on the main page. She accesses the page to add a listing and is prompted to enter her listing information. After entering the information, she is asked to review her listing, and she sees that it is correct and posts her listing. Several days later Shannon receives an e-mail from Joe who is interested in a chair she had posted. After arranging a price and the details for Joe to pick up the furniture, Shannon is able to sell her used furniture rather than having to throw it out.

Scenario 2: Andy is a junior at the University of Maryland. He just moved into a new apartment and is looking for some new furnishing to fill it up. Andy heard from a friend that a new website called Terpslist is available to UMD students and staff that could help him find local individuals who are trying to get rid of items such as old furniture. Andy considers himself to be proficient when it comes to web based searching. He then goes to the Terpslist website and decides he is going to look for a new desk chair. After logging in with his university ID, he then searches for a desk chair and looks through all possible matches based on user selected preferences (price, condition, type, etc). He finds a post by another student that lives close to him with a type of chair that he wants. Then he gets that student’s contact information from the posted listing. Andy then contacts the student and negotiates a deal and pick up time. Then he goes to pick up his item.

Scenario 3: John Smith is a professor at the University of MD's philosophy department and loves to grow tomatoes. This year was a particularly bountiful crop and he is interested in using the Terpslist website for the first time in order to find a home for his extras. After he signs in and places an ad, he realizes that some of his personal information is incorrect. With the aide of the help window, he learns how to change his personal info and is now ready to give away his next abundant crop.

Website Comparisons

The idea of Terpslist is very similar to the basic idea behind craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org). By limiting our scope and locale, we eliminate a lot of issues and problems that have to be dealt with through craigslist. Our user base is much more limited and (if verified through UMD) is more secure because only students and faculty are allowed to post. This removes security and privacy issues because all contact info is publicly available through UMD online resources. The focus of the site will also be on sustainability so there is less diversity to work with. Also, most exchanges will be done in a relatively small geographic area as opposed to craigslist which is not. This extra specificity allows us to tailor our design to be very practical for our users’ needs as opposed to being overly generic to fit a larger amount of actions.

The Marketplace application on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com) provides a similar service to Terpslist. Much like Terpslist, Marketplace allows Facebook users to limit their search for items, housing, jobs, etc. to a specific network they are a part of, such as the Maryland network. Terpslist varies from this model in that it would only allow people with active University ID accounts or e-mails to use the service. This would help narrow the scope of the service to current Maryland students and faculty, while on Facebook it is possible for alumni who may not live in the area to continue to use the Maryland Marketplace. The Facebook Marketplace does offer more services than our proposed Terpslist, including housing, jobs, and also “wanted” sections where users can post items they are looking for and other users can respond if they have them. This could be a useful feature if we have the time or for future upgrades to Terpslist because it would provide users with additional ways to find items they are looking for.

Freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org) is a website where people can give and get stuff for free in their hometowns. Freecycle has 4609 groups with 5,843,000 users who are located all over the world. Our site, Terpslist, will be a much smaller and more compact version of Freecycle. We will have the advantage of being available only to those at the University of Maryland, which will eliminate the need for groups by location. Since the site will be used only by students and falculty, the focus of free items offered is more likely to appeal to our users who are just more students and falculty.

Swaptree (http://www.swaptree.com) is a website that allows people to trade their unwanted items for other users’ unwanted items. Our site, Terpslist, will have an advantage over Swaptree because it will not require users first to list their own used stuff for trade before allowing them to search for unwanted goods. That way our users can find free stuff even if they are unwilling to give anything away themselves. Also, Terpslist is local to the University community so there will be no shipping costs (monetary or environmental) to worry about.

Annotated References

Blevis, E. April, 2007. Sustainable Interaction Design: Invention & Disposal, Renewal & Reuse. CHI 2007 Proceedings: 503-512. ACM Portal, http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1240624.1240705 This article focuses on sustainability as a central focus in HCI when designing any new product or system. He outlines a series of principles which all new designs should take into consideration.

Hahn, J. The Dynamics of Mass Online Marketplaces: A Case Study of an Online Auction. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. ACM Portal, http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=365024.365124&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&CFID=4355847&CFTOKEN=11519444. This is a case study of a massive scale online auction marketplace. Its main focus is to get insights on the design of the marketplace, and online marketplaces as a whole. This article can help us in our design of Terpslist by indicating several considerations and implications that our design may have on the usability of our project.

Hanks, K., Odom, W., Roedl, D., & Blevis, E. 2008. Sustainable Millennials: Attitudes towards Sustainability and the Material Effects of Interactive Technologies. CHI 2008 Proceedings: 333-342. ACM Portal, http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1357054.1357111 This article expands upon the Blevis article published the year. In order to gather data for this paper, 435 undergraduate students were polled on issues of sustainability. These results stress the principles which were developed in the previous article and show how much of a concern these sort of issues are to users.

Hattam, Jennifer. "Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice." Sierra 90.6 (Nov/Dec 2005): p42-43. In "Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice," Jennifer Hattam discusses updating the way we think about recycling. She describes ways to improve recycling efforts and make them more compatible with our fast paced, tech heavy lifestyles; including online forums and e-mail groups that find new uses for old goods.

Swamynathan, G., Wilson, C., Boe, B., Almeroth, K., Zhao, B.Y. Do Social Networks Improve e-Commerce? A Study on Social Marketplaces. Proceedings of the first workshop on Online social networks: 1-6. ACM Portal, http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1397735.1397737&jmp=cit&coll=Portal&dl=ACM&CFID=4519695&CFTOKEN=95600560#CIT. This article studies the Overstock auction website and investigates whether social interaction effects business interactions on e-commerce websites. Because Terpslist caters to faculty and students, many of whom are familiar with social networking websites such as Facebook, this article may provide insight into how to design Terpslist to cater to these groups.