Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs & online faith communities
Week 5: Designing for Stage (Not necessarily age)<br />
Maslow’s Pyramid<br />SELF ACTUALIZATION<br /><ul><li> Being able to reach one’s full potential.
Almost never fully satisfied, as we are constantly growing and searching to fulfill this need.
Ex: feeling restless at work or in life—constantly looking to fulfill some desire to find meaning.</li></ul>ESTEEM (external & internal)<br /><ul><li> Need to feel important, valued, recognized, needed</li></ul>SOCIAL<br /><ul><li> Seek to overcome feelings of alienation and loneliness once safety and biological needs are met.
Ex: friendship, affinity groups, relationships </li></ul>SAFETY<br /><ul><li> Kicks in once physiological needs are met (and aren’t taking one’s attention)
Mostly comes into play during emergencies, disruption or crisis </li></ul>PHYSIOLOGICAL<br /><ul><li> Very basic physical/biological human needs to live: water, air, food, etc.
First in one’s search for satisfaction.</li></li></ul><li>Is the Purpose Driven Connection meeting visitor needs?<br />Maslow’s hierarchy identifies social needs as the first of the non physical needs that humans seek to fulfill, after physiological and safety. The site devotes a section specific to community & groups to address this need. Several articles in this section are tagged as “relating,” further emphasizing community and relationships. <br />Above social needs, Maslow identifies the need to feel valued and recognized—to feel self esteem and to know that they are not inferior. Quantcast and Alexa both identify African American as the next largest ethnic group to visit the site. Unfortunately, browsing through the site, the only time people of color were represented was in the entertainment section. In music. And they were all African American. Bad.<br />According to Alexa.com and Quantcast.com, the 45-54 and 55-64yo demographic are overrepresented on the site. Erickson’s developmental stages state that at this age range (middle-aged adults), people are looking for satisfaction through productivity in career, family and civic interests (Erickson, 1968). This featured story is an example that may address the need for generativity—to do something that makes a difference for society.<br />
Application: Maslow’s Typology, 2.0<br />The Purpose Driven Connection, still in beta mode, is attempting to build an intentional community online, following the success of the Purpose Driven Life books and studies. Based on website analytics from Quantcast.com, Alexa.com and Compete.com, visitors to the site look like this:<br /> 62% don’t have kids 0-17 years old. Assumption: Kids are all grown up and the adults now have time to pursue their own interests in life and career.<br /> 35% make between $60-100K. 30% make $30-60K. This is an affluent audience.<br /> 42% have attended college; 27% have a graduate degree. Highly educated audience.<br />Attaining self-actualization—the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy/typology—is the ultimate personal achievement. Maslow referred to it as the desire to become more and more what one is; to become everything that one is capable of becoming (Maslow, 1954). With this goal in mind, designers of purposedriven.com must provide opportunities for users to realize this personal achievement. Many of the site visitors have perhaps gone through some form of the Purpose Driven Life study, and therefore are seeking some personal enrichment or spiritual enlightenment, or to build community with those who are interested in being intentional about their faith practices. <br />SO WHAT? What does this mean for the website? They have a goodstart as they are extending the conversation and resources for people who have bought into the Purpose Driven Life universe. The website has visitors navigating around the following categories: faith, tools & resources, community & groups, take action, entertainment, PD TV and shop. Those who are seeking some pinnacle of personal enlightenment and purpose have the opportunity to explore what it is they are called to do by reading articles, viewing multimedia, seeking opportunities to engage with the world thorough service. <br />Visitors to the site can see that articles are clearly tagged in the following topics: growing, serving, relating—all terms that evoke moving outside oneself to achieve something greater. Striving for self-actualization is motivated by the desire for personal growth, and there is the potential for ample opportunities on purposedriven.com, had the designers kept this goal of self-actualization in mind. <br />If the goal is for visitors to stay, read, and feel like they are experiencing personal growth, they should be able to share this experience with others. Though the site does have facebook, YouTube, Twitter, e-newsletter and RSS links, there are no “share it” type buttons built in to allow easy social sharing for each article—one easy way to gauge visitor engagement/interest in the content.<br />
Recommendations for PDL<br /> Offer the opportunity for users to blog. I imagine there would be many whose lives have been enriched by the content and community the site has provided. Use them to be the project’s evangelists.<br /> Have a feature section with prominent figures giving advice, answering questions and writing articles. They are influencers who may encourage visitors to continue to be more.<br />Build in SMS alerts for your mobile device for when a new article is posted. <br />Offer an iPhone or Android app so people could easily access feature articles and search relatively quickly.<br />
References<br />Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton<br />Maslow, Abraham (1954). Motivation and Personality. Harper and Row New York, New York<br />