Designing Social


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Humans are funny animals, and behave in surprising ways. In an information space, a human’s needs are simple and his behavior straightforward. Find. Read. Save. But once you get a bunch of humans together, communicating and collaborating, sometimes you see the madness and sometimes the wisdom of crowds. This makes the architecture in social spaces the most challenging work you can take on. While your site can never control people, but it certainly can encourage good behavior and discourage bad. We'll cover core principals for creating robust and vibrant online communities, and illuminates critical design decisions that help a community thrive. Learn about the building blocks of social software, and which ones are most relevant to your business. Learn how to promote desired behaviors with interface design, and who’s doing it right. Learn when to apply familiar designs (such as with logging in or adding a friend) and when to strike out into entirely new territory.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

Designing Social

  1. 1. DesigningSocialChristina Wodtke | @cwodtke |
  2. 2. Whatis social, really?
  3. 3. The Social Webis a digital space where data abouthuman interactions is as importantas other data types for providingvalueCommunityis when those humans care abouteach other.
  4. 4. Social Software can be looselydefined as software whichsupports, extends, orderives added value from,human social behavior -message-boards, musicaltaste-sharing, photo-sharing, instant messaging,mailing lists, socialnetworking.Social XXX• Usenet• Forums• Email• Mailing lists• Groupware• Social Networks Services• Social Software• Social MediaNothing New
  5. 5. Whybother?
  6. 6. 8 days after a video was posted showinghow to pick the lock in 30 seconds using apen Kryptonite recalled 380,000 locks
  7. 7. Your users have somethingto tell you. If you don’t givethem a way tocommunicate, they will findone.Trebor Scholz
  8. 8. “I could go on with the benefits ofbuilding relationships rather than SEOcampaigns, such as:– Longevity and customer retention,not to mention repeat customers– Bug tracking and communitypolicing (ie. Flickr’s ‘Flag this photoas “may offend”?’)– Amplified word of mouth– Built in market research– Buying ads is bloody expensive”Tara Hunt
  9. 9. JoshuaPorter“HOLD ON A SEC...are socialfeatures economicallyviable?1. Direct contact withpeople who make yousuccessful2. Amplify customer opinion3. Data, data, and moredata4. Reduce support costs5. Engender Trust to formlasting relationships”
  10. 10. Howdo you design social?
  11. 11. B=f(P+E)- Lewin’s EquationBehavior is a function of a Personand his Environment
  12. 12. The SocialWeb is builthere, fromlove andesteem
  13. 13. Motivation for hours(and hours and hours)of work
  14. 14. Kollock’s 4 Motivations for Contributing1. Reciprocity2. Reputation3. Increased sense of efficacy4. Attachment to and need of a group
  15. 15. Reciprocity
  16. 16. Whats the motivation of behind thesepeople actually interacting andparticipating? … people want toshare with the communitywhat they believe to beimportant …. and they want tosee their name in lights. Theywant to see their little icon on the frontpage, their username on the front page, soother people can see it.Reputation
  17. 17. Increased sense of efficacy
  18. 18. Attachment to and need of a group
  19. 19. The New Third Place?“All great societies provide informal meeting places, likethe Forum in ancient Rome or a contemporaryEnglish pub. But since World War II, America hasceased doing so. The neighborhood tavern hasntfollowed the middle class out to the suburbs...” -- RayOldenburg
  20. 20. B=f(P+E)- Lewin’s EquationBehavior is a function of a Personand his Environment
  21. 21. 205 Structure Follows SocialSpacesConflictNo building ever feels right to the people init unless the physical spaces (defined bycolumns, walls, and ceilings) are congruentwith the social spaces (defined by activitiesand human groups).ResolutionA first principle of construction; on noaccount allow the engineering to dictatethe buildings form. Place the load bearingelements- the columns and the walls andfloors- according to the social spaces of thebuilding; never modify the social spaces toconform to the engineering structure of thebuilding.
  22. 22. 36. Degrees of publicnessConflict: People are different,and the way they want to placetheir houses in a neighborhoodis one of the most basic kinds ofdifference.Resolution: Make a clear distinctionbetween three kinds of homes―thoseon quiet backwaters, those on busystreets, and those that are more or lessin-between. Make sure that those on quietbackwaters are on twisting paths, and that these housesare themselves physically secluded; make sure that themore public houses are on busy streets with manypeople passing by all day long and that the housesthemselves are exposed to the passers-by. The in-between houses may then be located on the pathshalfway between the other two. Give everyneighborhood about an equal number of these threekinds of homes.
  23. 23. IdentityActivity RelationshipsSocialSpaceDistribution (Viral)
  24. 24. TOWNSThe language begins with patterns that define towns andcommunities. These patterns can never be designed orbuilt in one fell swoop - but patient piecemeal growth,designed in such a way that every individual act is alwayshelping to create or generate these larger global patterns,will, slowly and surely, over the years, make a communitythat has these global patterns in it.BUILDINGSWe now start that part of the language which gives shapeto individual buildings. These are the patterns which canbe "designed) or "built”- the patterns which define theindividual buildings and the space between buildings;where we are dealing for the first time with Patterns thatare under the control of individuals or small groups ofindividuals, who are able to build the patterns all at once:
  25. 25. IdentityActivity RelationshipsSocialSpaceprofilereputationpresenceShareConvosCollabContactsAttentionGroupsDistribution (Viral)
  26. 26. StrategizeExercise 1: brainstorm a newfeature or site area that bringsa appropriate community toyour website.Things to think about:• Business goals: how does this community further the needs ofthe company?• User goals: what makes this community attractive in a timewhen they have a hundred other places vying for theirattention. What is the personal worth of the tools?• What if no one shows up, can it still have value?• Community nature: will this be a true community, or will thisbe a collective wisdom tool? Think about the spectrum.• Approach to Creation: can you partner. rather than build?
  27. 27. Identityprofilereputationpresence
  28. 28. 1.) If you were going to build apiece of social software to supportlarge and long-lived groups, whatwould you design for? The firstthing you would design for ishandles the user can invest in.Clay Shirky, A Group Is Its OwnWorst Enemy
  29. 29. ProfileProfile• Avatar• Bio• Collections
  30. 30. Identity is Context BasedFacebook- Personal LinkedIN - Professional
  31. 31. AvatarIdentity• Avatar• Profile• Activity• Collections
  32. 32. Collections
  33. 33. Presence
  34. 34. PresencePresence•Status•History•Statistics•Signs of Life•Keeping meCompany
  35. 35. 2.) Second, you have todesign a way for there tobe members in goodstanding. Have to designsome way in which goodworks get recognized. Theminimal way is, postsappear with identity. Youcan do more sophisticatedthings like having formalkarma or "membersince."
  36. 36. Reputation is…Information used to make avalue judgment about anobject or person…
  37. 37. Reputations
  38. 38. StrategizeExercise 2: what elements doyou need for identity?Profile?Presence?Reputation?
  39. 39. RelationshipsContactsAttentionGroups
  40. 40. you have to find a way tospare the group from scale.Scale alone killsconversations,because conversations requiredense two-way conversations.[Dunbar] found that the MAXIMUM number ofpeople that a person could keep up with socially atany given time, gossip maintenance, was 150. Thisdoesnt mean that people dont have 150 people intheir social network, but that they onlykeep tabs on 150 people max atany given point.
  41. 41. Attention
  42. 42. Groups
  43. 43. Connectionss
  44. 44. ContactsAttention Groups
  45. 45. ContactsAttention Groups
  46. 46. StrategizeExercise 3: what kinds ofrelationships will you support?Asymmetrical Attention-Based?Groups?Connections?
  47. 47. ActivityShareCommunicateCollaborate
  48. 48. Conversations
  49. 49. Sharing
  50. 50. Collaboration
  51. 51. Photoshop tennis
  52. 52. StrategizeExercise 4: what are the socialobjects and what do peopledo?i.e. What are your SOCIALnouns and verbs?Do people SHARE,CONVERSATE, orCOLLABORATE
  53. 53. IdentityActivity RelationshipsSocialSpaceprofilereputationpresenceShareConvosCollabContactsAttentionGroupsDistribution (Viral)
  54. 54. SocialSpace
  55. 55. Norms & Caretakers
  56. 56. Community Management• Who’s going to do what?– Participate in your community• Who will handle complaints?– CRM or GetSatisfaction?• What is the resource commitment?• What is the core functionality• What are the phased releases?• Will you learn from your mistakes?
  57. 57. VilificationVeneration
  58. 58. Simple (hard) Steps• Have a compelling idea• Seed• Someone must live on the site– Community manager or you• Make the rules clear (and short)– Write a good TOS• Punish swiftly and nicely• Reward contributions• Spread the work out• Adapt to Community Norms• Apologize publicly, swiftly and frequently• Simple good software that grows with group
  59. 59. Does Software Matter?Robin Miller, Cofounder ofSlahdotJoel Spolsky, Joel on Software
  60. 60. Not as much as you think
  61. 61. Your Turn: What did youdesign? What was theidentity? What was theconnection type? What do peopledo together?
  62. 62. QUESTIONS?Christina
  63. 63. APPENDIX
  64. 64. The AOF Method• 1. Defining your Activity• 2. Identifying your Social Objects• 3. Choosing your FeaturesCourtesy of Joshua Porter. Check out!
  65. 65. Classic Question• Who are your users?Better Question• What are your users doing?• What do people have to do to make you successful?• What are you making people better at?• What are your users passionate about?
  66. 66. 2. Identifying yourSocial Objects
  67. 67. The term “social networking” makes little senseif we leave out the objects that mediate the tiesbetween people. Think about the object as thereason why people affiliate with each specificother and not just anyone.Jyri Engeström
  68. 68. What are Social Objects?• Social objects can be ideas, people, or physicalobjects.• Social objects influence social interaction...theychange the way people interact with each other.• By interacting through/with social objects, peoplemeet others they might not otherwise know.• Social objects can be the reason why people havean interaction or form a relationship.Joshua Porter (
  69. 69. 3. Choosing your Features