Social Design Core Concepts › Social DesignSocial Design is a way of thinking about product design that putssocial experiences at the core. Create these social experiences withthe features available on Facebook Platform.Three Elements of Social DesignSocial Design defines how we understand ourselves and each other and canbe broken down into three core elements: Identity, Conversation andCommunity.● Community refers to the people we know and trust and who help us make decisions.● Conversation refers to the various interactions we have with our communities.● Identity refers to our own sense of self and how we are seen by our communities.From our experience building Facebook and helping partner companies thinkabout social design, weve put this document together to try to explain howwe think about social design and some patterns and best practices weveobserved.Modeling a Social ExperienceOne way to model a social product is by working from the inside out: allowpeople to create an identity, let them share it and build a community overtime. Facebook began this way. However, if community is already curated, asit is via Facebook Platform, you can instead work from the outside in: utilizethe existing community users have built, define new conversations and letthem continue to build their identities further. Facebook Platform makes iteasy to take the "outside in" approach.Start by defining the domain or interest that is core to your app or website(music, books, movies, etc.). Then follow the set of key guidelines below andutilize the tools that Facebook Platform provides to help you build a greatsocial experience.1. Utilizing Community 2. Building 3. Curating IdentityFacebook profile data can be Conversations Users share and interact with othersused to personalize the user Build tools and experiences because self expression feels goodexperience in your app so that that give people the power to and rewarding. Help them learnit feels familiar, relevant and connect and share, allowing more about themselves and curatetrusted by default. them to effectively listen and their identity. learn from each other.Utilizing Community Core Concepts › Social Design › Utilizing Community
Communities feel familiar, relevant and trusted by default. Surface users interests and their friends inyour app to create personalized user experiences.Start by implementing Facebook Authentication which enables a user to authorize your app to access profileinformation. You can ask for specific pieces of data about the user by requesting permissions relevant to your app. Suggest Relevant Content Utilize Facebook profile data in your app. If users grant the required set of permissions, you can utilize the Graph API to access users likes, interests, activities, movies and more to recommend content in your app. In addition you can also access their friends likes to suggest content they may be interested in. Users have spent a lot of time curating their Facebook profiles, so using that information effectively can drastically enhance their experience, provided you clearly communicate how you are using it. Both Rotten Tomatoes and Airbnb, for example, use profile information and connections to enhance the user experience, offering users personalized and valuable information. Connect Friends Users feel comfortable and engaged knowing their friends are already actively participating in your app. When users join, automatically connect them to the friends who are already there, instead of making them search and add friends manually. Not only is this easier for the user, but it provides your app with social data at the start that helps engage the user. When users connect their Spotify accounts to Facebook, for example, an additional panel automatically displays their friends, allowing them to see friends playlists, favorite songs and listening history. You can use the Graph API to easily access users friends.
Show Social ContextWhenever you display information from other users,always show real names and profile pictures. Socialapps are about real identity, and users of Facebookexpect this. If you show content from non-friends, usethe same interface, but also provide other contextualinformation such as mutual friends, where the useris from or where they work. Context helps make theexperience more authentic and personal. Seeing acomment from “Sam, a designer in New York City,3 friends in common” is more valuable and usefulthan just seeing “Sam.” Use the Graph API to accessinformation about the user such as their workplace,their hometown, their relationship to the viewer (e.g.,mutual friends), and much more. Weve found it best toonly show faces when they are of friends, so as not todilute their value in the interface.Facebook uses a variety of methods to show contextabout a person, such as mutual friends, school and/orlocation, both inline and in hover cards. The CommentsPlugin, for example, displays profile information aboutthe people writing the comments. Associating content to people that users care about naturally draws them in. Even something as simple as the Facepile plugin - which shows users the friends already using your app before they sign in - can increase sign-ups and positive feelings about the experience.Be Transparent and Give Users ControlBe straightforward with the data you are utilizing from the user’sFacebook profile and why you are using it. Only ask for thepermissions you actually need; the more you ask for, the less likelyusers will grant them. Users may join your app and automaticallytrust their friends, but the first hurdle is trusting your app when firstprompted with the permissions dialog.Airbnb, for example, is clear on how they utilize data from Facebookto enhance a users experience on the site.Ensure that users of your app have control over the data they giveyou and the data your app creates from this information. Users shouldnever feel as though something personal of theirs is being takenwithout permission or utilized in ways they don’t understand.Building Conversation Core Concepts › Social Design › Building Conversation
Conversations are how people express their identities to communities and how they receive feedbackfrom them. Build experiences that give people the power to connect and share. An effective conversation is based in two experiences: 1. "Listening" : Displaying personalized content, social context and user activity 2. "Speaking" : Making it easy for users to talk, share, give feedback and engage Listening and speaking create a positive feedback loop that, if done right, grows exponentially.ListeningUsers are encouraged to participate when they can listen to and watch other active users on your site. On Clicker,for example, users can see the shows that their friends have watched along with recommendations based on friendactivity. Many sites likeEventBrite or TripAdvisor rely on reviews from people to help with decision-making. Whenyou can use information from the Facebook social graph to highlight content from friends, this can be even morepowerful.Showing a history of activity (highlighting friend activity) is an effective way to generate interest and conversation.Users will better understand what is expected of them and will likely seek out ways to participate. Surface User Activity Presenting information about the activity and actions of others is an effective and natural way to inform and engage other users. Our social plugins - specifically the Activity Feed and Recommendations plugin - are simple ways to allow a user to easily see their friends activity on your site, when paired with the Like Button. The Like Button lets people express what they like on their profile and with their friends on Facebook. Because other users see what friends like and, more importantly, because they trust their friends, they are more likely to care about the content. A number of websites are already using these social plugins to showcase the actions that users take on their site. For Sporting News, its a great way to see the articles most popular amongst friends. For Rdio, its a great way to discover new music. Provide Notifications Create directed conversation through notifications. Use Requests on Facebook to inform users of activity in your
app that is specifically relevant to them and requires their input. When users proactively engage with one another, conversation is more effective and personal. Without these, no one will know if anyone is speaking to them directly.Speaking and SharingThe other half of the conversation is speaking and sharing. People have to engage in the first place, and will do sowhen they have the right motivation. If people are sharing with people they trust, they are likely to share more oftenand be more open and honest. Focus the Conversation Rather than build tools for conversation around anything, its advantageous to decide the core theme of your app and build tools to focus conversation around that. For example, if you were creating a social cooking app, you might want users to specifically share: ● Recipes ● Photos of dishes they’ve made ● Favorite ingredients ● Cooking techniques Great social apps get users to engage in interesting ways about things they care about. The easier, more fun and useful a sharing interface can be, the more likely a user will contribute. Reduce Sharing Friction Simple actions taken by users can initiate conversations. Placing the Like Button on your website is a simple and effective way to get users to engage and start sharing. The Send Button similarly allows users to share with a smaller set of friends. Apps can use any number of these quick actions to involve users. In aggregate and over time, these simple interactions can provide a more complex and meaningful data set around which you can build conversation. Encourage Feedback Users are far more likely to start engaging with
your app by responding to content created by their friends than they are likely to create their own. Because of this, users should be able to interact with nearly every piece of content in your app, for every piece of content can be its own conversation topic. The Comments Plugin is an easy and effective tool that you can integrate into your site to enable friends to easily give feedback on content created on your site. All of the activity in the plugin will be surfaced to users’ friends through varioussocial channels on Facebook. This builds an effective listening experience that prompts more conversation. Encourage Sharing When conversation is directed, it becomes more personal. You can use the Graph API to enable users to tag friends in photos or posts which enables sharing directly with them. This is an effective way to involve friends in the sharing experience, prompting them to interact more. In Spotify, for example, users can send songs to specific friends or post to their own walls and share with everyone. In our experience, we have found that the rate of sharing and feedback is dramatically impacted by how easy and intuitive it is to share. Think carefully about your sharing interfaces and make them as simple as possible.Share Outside TooThe relationship your app has with your users not only happens inside your app but also outside. Posting storiesback to a users Facebook profile, for example, is a great way for a user to share their engagement in your app andencourage their friends to visit. Its strongly recommended that you give the user control over their voice and thatthe content is interesting and useful to friends. Its also important that you be transparent on setting appropriateuser expectations around the timing and content of the post.Enable users to post to Facebook using the Feed Dialog. You can also use the Request Dialog to enable users toinvite specific friends to your app or send more targeted app specific requests.
A number of apps are already effectively utilizing our social channels to get new users and traffic back to their appswhile deepening conversations.Curating Identity Core Concepts › Social Design › Curating IdentitySocial Design plays to the most powerful form of motivation: the self. People share and interact with
communities because they want to, because they learn more about themselves and enjoy feeling knownby their community.Creating and curating an identity within an app is a basic principle that leads to a stronger emotional connection withthat app over time. Building a profile that represents a users identity provides self motivation and personal value tousers. The key principles below demonstrate how to add elements of the community and conversations with them toa users profile in your app.Be Context-RelevantWhile Facebook serves as a representative profile, your app should focus on a particular vertical or domain. Make theusers profile relevant to this context and focus on this aspect of the users identity.For example, in the social cooking app, a profile could consist of:● A shareable and organized list of recipes users have created● A shareable photo album of all the dishes they’ve created● A space to house a list of their favorite ingredients with their own descriptions and reviews● Shared articles on cooking they’ve found interesting or usefulDon’t just think of features common to all social apps; think of what will be special to your app only. Explore whatpeople can do with your app that they can’t do anywhere else. Curate Content Users should feel that the content they contribute is theirs and that you provide them a place to house it. If you’re asking users to contribute thoughts, photos and other content, they should be able to keep a record of this activity. Your app should use their input to organize content intelligently for them. Facebook organizes a users interests into a clean, structured interface. Use the Graph API to let users upload photos andvideos from your app to share on Facebook. Last.fm compiles your listening history and favorite songs into an easy-to-read interface as well. Tell Stories People want to share experiences they have everywhere - not just on Facebook. Part of what builds identity is the storytelling of these experiences. Although displaying a history of user activity and posts to their wall helps, its not the full picture. Use the Like button with Open Graph tags to enable users to
share likes and interests from your app. By allowingusers to like objects in your app, those experiences areintegrated into their Facebook profile and shared withfriends. Highlight Interesting Information Part of what makes building a useful profile is not simply presenting the data, but additionally analyzing it to tell users something they dont know about themselves. For example, Spotify informs users of their top tracks and top artists. In a social movies app, you may highlight the users most-viewed actors or genres. In a social cooking app, you may want to highlight what ingredients a user uses most of the time.