Social Web Application Design

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Information about Social Web Application Design

Published on May 21, 2007

Author: lukew



Social Web Application Design. In particular: Comparison of how we think of “community” applications today vs. five years ago, Definitions of what and who defines social software, Overview of the interaction elements commonly found in social Web applications, Discussion about the pros and cons of enabling community features within products, Outline of best practices for designing social software (culled from my experiences working on products for eBay, Yahoo!, and more).

The Web Now: Social Luke Wroblewski Principal Designer, Yahoo! Inc. IxD Symposium IA Summit 2006 03-23-2006

Definitions What is Community? • In 1999… • • Discussion boards, email newsletters In 2006… • • Tags, ratings, reviews, comments, trackbacks, RSS, sharing (email, IM), distribution, blogs, wikis Always… • • People united by shared interests or goals 2

What makes up a community? Content is King • • Great products create community • Great actions (useful features & functions) • Great interest (compelling content) Social Behaviors • • Reputation & Identity • One to One, One to many, many to many communication • Sequences, Rituals, Groups 3

Who’s In a Community? Yahoo! Groups Example • Creators • 1% of the user population might start a • group (or a thread within a group) Synthesizers • 10% of the user population might • participate actively, and actually author content whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress Consumers • 100% of the user population benefits from • the activities of the above groups * Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo! Research 4

Why Enable Community? Value human to human interactions from * Images from Flickr 5

Contribute Ratings reviews favorites wikis calendars flag comments tags discussion boards inline chat 6

Share Email to friend save to list send via IM add download trackbacks add to blog to my site playlists subscribe invite 7

Implications: Good Filter • • Provide Information about information • Organic Popularity Original content creation • • Flickr Increased Engagement • • Yahoo! Answers Invested Customers • • eBay Collaborative Innovation • • eBay & PayPal Inclusion • • Lego Mindstorms * Images from Flickr 8

Implications: Bad Too many “social” features can distract • Blur the focus of the product • Quality • Splogs, spratings, spags, comment spam, • trackback spam Lightweight interactions = lightweight • content Power Laws • Power participants can become a dominant • force in the direction of a product Power can be abused • The vocal minority: potential innovation • hurdle Factions vs. Tribes • Privacy & Exposure • Safety • * Images from Flickr 9

Best Practices * Images from Flickr 10

Enable Identity Welcome • Pay attention to people • Flickr, MySpace • Anonymity can be a death • sentence Lack of accountability & • reputation Personal Branding • Nickname • About/URL • Images • Accomplishments • Stuff I’ve Done • Rewards • Social Incentive • “You’ve got mail!” • 11

Focus on the Epicenter VS. Don’t lose sight of primary content and goals 12

Provide for Creators, Synthesizers, & Consumers Creators Synthesizers Consumers CSC personality types do not easily migrate between groups • Scaling engagement is hard and often inappropriate • Leverage differences to maintain balance • 13

Design Systems Extensible • • Social applications grow organically • Define flexibility upfront • Define rules early on Think “Ecosystem” • • Movement of content • Cycles Structured • • Interaction design establishes how a community can engage with each other and beyond Objects & Actions • * Pearson Education 14

15 *

Constraints Balance Systems Quality Control • Lightweight interactions = lightweight • content “Burying the submit button [in community • Web sites] encourages fewer, but better posts.” -Derek Powazek, Design for Community, 2001 Barriers to Entry • quot;The best check on bad behavior is • identity.” -Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook Founder Game Design • Embrace Constraints • 16

Questions? * Images from Flickr 17

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