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Designing for the Social Web

Book Description

No matter what type of web site or application you’re building, social interaction among the people who use it will be key to its success. They will talk about it, invite their friends, complain, sing its high praises, and dissect it in countless ways. With the right design strategy you can use this social interaction to get people signing up, coming back regularly, and bringing others into the fold. With tons of examples from real-world interfaces and a touch of the underlying social psychology theory, Joshua Porter shows you how to design your next great social web application.

Inside, you’ll discover:
• The real reasons why people participate online and the psychology behind them
• The Usage Lifecycle—or how people use your web application over time
• How to get people past that trickiest of hurdles: sign-up
• What to do when you’ve launched a web application and nobody is using it
• How to analyze the effectiveness of your application screens and flows
• How to grow your social web application from zero users to 1000—and beyond

Designing for the social web is about much more than adding features. It’s about embracing the social interaction of the people who make you successful—and then designing smartly to encourage it.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Introduction: Getting back to connectedness
    1. Part Interface Design, Part Psychology
    2. What’s in the Book
      1. The Usage Lifecycle
      2. The Five Stages of the Usage Lifecycle
        1. 1. Unaware
        2. 2. Interested
        3. 3. First-time Use
        4. 4. Regular Use
        5. 5. Passionate Use
    3. One Goal: Better Design
  4. 1. The Rise of the Social Web: A social and economic change that has barely begun
    1. The Amazon Effect
      1. People-Powered Research
      2. Counter-Intuitive Economics
    2. The Social Web
      1. Humans Are Innately Social
        1. Lewin’s Equation
        2. From Environment to Interface Design
        3. The Challenge of Social Software
      2. Social Software is a Forced Move
        1. A Forced Move
        2. The Paradox of Choice
        3. Bias, Bias, and more Bias
        4. The Attention Economy
      3. Social Software is Accelerating
        1. A One-Way Conversation (Read Only)
        2. A Two-Way Conversation (Read/Write)
        3. A Many-Way Conversation (Social)
        4. The biggest web properties are social
        5. The Fastest Growing Web Properties Are Social
        6. Where Do You Spend Your Time?
        7. Blogs!
    3. Conclusion
      1. Less Than 20% So Far
  5. 2. A Framework for Social Web Design: The AOF method for making early and crucial design decisions
    1. A Prioritization Scheme
    2. The AOF Method
    3. Focus on the Primary Activity
      1. Only One Activity is Primary
      2. Identifying the Primary Activity
      3. Goals, Activities, and Tasks
      4. Research Methods
      5. Exercise: Researching the Activity of Shopping
        1. A Normal View of Shopping
        2. An Ethnographic View of Shopping
        3. Sweat the Details
        4. The Forgotten Element: Social Interaction
    4. Identify Your Social Objects
      1. Real-life Artifacts
      2. Funky Objects
      3. Give the Social Objects a URL
        1. Flickr’s URLization of Photos
    5. Choose a Core Feature Set
      1. Finding Your Verbs
      2. Collections of Objects as Features
      3. Amazon’s Social Features
      4. Keeping a Check on Features
        1. Each Feature Means More Complexity
        2. Just Say No
        3. Don’t Copy Features!!!
    6. Conclusion
  6. 3. Authentic Conversations: Why having authentic conversations is the most important thing you can do for your social web site
    1. The Growing Alienation
      1. People Who Build Web Applications are Especially Vulnerable
    2. What Could it Look Like?
    3. The Value of Authentic Conversation
      1. Happier People
      2. Better Software
      3. Customer Service is the New Marketing
    4. Make the Commitment to Authentic Conversation
      1. Ten Steps to Authenticity
      2. The Importance of a Community Manager
      3. What Community Managers Do
      4. Community Building isn’t about Features
    5. Get Attention by Focusing on a Specific Community
      1. If Possible, Build for Yourself
      2. Build Outwards
      3. Release Early, Release Often
        1. More Experimentation, Reduced Risk
        2. Learn Quickly
        3. Provide Continuing Interest
      4. The Building of Gmail
    6. Keep Attention by Reacting Positively to Negative Feedback
      1. The Dreamhost Debacle
        1. Secret #1: It’s Over Quick
        2. Secret #2: People are Cool with Hiccups
        3. Secret #3: It’s the Average that Matters
      2. The JetBlue Apology
      3. Treat Criticism as Opportunity
    7. Dell is Well
    8. Caveat Venditor
    9. Conclusion
  7. 4. Design for Sign-up: How to motivate people to sign up for your web app
    1. What Are They Thinking?
    2. The Sign-up Hurdle
      1. Different Strokes for Different Folks
      2. Creating a Sign-up Framework
      3. What a Good Sign-up Framework Does
    3. Keep it Simple: the Journalism Technique
      1. Describe WHAT It Is
      2. Show HOW it Works
        1. Netflix’s Four-Pane Masterwork
        2. TripIt and a Second Level of Detail
        3. Show the End Result
      3. Explain WHY with Benefits as Well as Features
      4. Give Examples of WHO is Using It
        1. Let People Find Friends
        2. Provide Testimonials: “I love your stuff”
        3. Get As Specific As You Can
        4. Success Stories/Case Studies
        5. Give Numbers (When They’re Big)
        6. Appeal to Authority
        7. Hypotheticals Are OK
      5. WHEN Can People Use It? Now!
      6. WHERE Can People Use Your Application?
    4. Reduce Sign-up Friction
      1. Don’t Make Creating an Account a Requirement (until You Need to)
      2. Progressive Engagement
    5. Conclusion
  8. 5. Design for Ongoing Participation: How to keep people happy and participating over the long term
    1. Why Do People Participate?
    2. Enable Identity Management
      1. Accounts
      2. Profile Pages
      3. The Profile Has to Fit the Domain
      4. Show What’s Happening
      5. Watch Out for “Social Network Fade”
      6. Get Out of the Way
    3. Emphasize the Person’s Uniqueness
    4. Leverage Reciprocity
    5. Allow for Reputation
      1. When Reputation is Crucial to Cooperation
    6. Promote a Sense of Efficacy
    7. Provide a Sense of Control
      1. The Real Issue: a Sense of Control
    8. Confer Ownership
    9. Show Desired Behavior
    10. Attachment to a Group
      1. Fun Features
      2. In Search of Passion
    11. Conclusion
  9. 6. Design for Collective Intelligence: The wonderful world of complex, adaptive systems
    1. Complex Adaptive Systems
      1. Complex Systems Everywhere!
      2. Collective Intelligence
      3. How Complex Adaptive Systems Work
    2. Initial Action
      1. Barriers to Entry
      2. Other Examples of Initial Action
      3. Adding Tags
      4. Preprocessing Content Before Display
    3. Aggregate Display
      1. Types of Aggregation Ordering
      2. Display and Social Influence
        1. The MusicLab Study
    4. Feedback
      1. Implicit and Explicit Feedback
      2. Positive and Negative Feedback
      3. Make Feedback Easy
    5. Leverage Points
    6. Conclusion
  10. 7. Design for Sharing: How to build features that enable word of mouth
    1. Two Types of Sharing
      1. Implicit Sharing
      2. Explicit Sharing
      3. Do Sharing Features Work?
      4. What to Share?
    2. The Activity of Sharing
      1. Sharers Discover Something Easily Sharable
      2. Sharers Heed the Call to Action
        1. Keep the Call to Action Close
        2. Time It Right
        3. Give Options for Sharing
        4. Don’t go overboard
      3. Sharers Use the Sharing Form
        1. Give People Something to Do After Sharing
        2. Allow for Multiple Sharing
      4. Recipients Interpret Shared Message
        1. The More Personal It Is, the More Powerful
      5. Recipients Act
        1. Use Sharing Results to Inform What You’re Doing
      6. Other Ways to Share
    3. Conclusion
  11. 8. The Funnel Analysis: A simple analysis tool to assess the health of your web site
    1. The Funnel View
      1. Customizing the Funnel
    2. The Analysis
      1. Discovering What Needs to Change
      2. Audience Size vs. Length of Test
      3. Getting Finer-Grained
      4. Social Funnels
    3. Issues to Watch For
      1. Faulty Baseline
      2. Different Sources Bring Different People
      3. Navigation is Non-Linear
      4. Size of Numbers
      5. What are Reasonable Numbers?
      6. Tightening Your Numbers
    4. Meaningful Metrics
      1. The Death of the Page View
      2. Common Metrics
      3. Activities Define the Important Metric
    5. Conclusion