Interaction 09: Designing the Viral App

by Luke Wroblewski February 8, 2009

Christina Wodtke’s Designing the Viral App session at Interaction 09 described several patterns for accelerating viral adoption of Web services.

  • With social, people will do whatever makes sense in context. These are not rules but observations.
  • Behavior is a function of a person and his environment. We cannot control people but we do have power over the environment.
  • Make things frictionless: want to remove doubts that people have about doing things.
  • Privacy & virality oppose each other. If you go public by default, you need a way to let people go private.
  • Cannot make systems less complicated, can only move complexity around –to the user, designer, or the back-end.
  • Having things right at hand: people need to know what they should do. Prioritize what is on the page.
  • Asymmetric follow: do not need two-way connections to allow people to pay attention. Two way handshake makes for more compelling relevance. One way gives you broader reach.
  • Reciprocity: if someone gives you a gift, you will feel an urge to pay them back.
  • Targeted: who are the most useful people in a network –the connectors, mavens, salesman?
  • Group manager sets things up, organizes, and keep conversation going. Can provide tools for managers that are specific to them. Optimize for the people doing the heavy lifting.
  • Outreach: probably need to do some marketing. One of the best ways to do this is search engine optimization.
  • Can utilize network to aggregate what is most relevant based on popularity: most emailed, etc.
  • A checklist is a powerful way to make sure you accomplish your objectives.