IDEA09: Social Spaces Online -Lessons from Radical Architects

by Luke Wroblewski September 16, 2009

Christina Wodtke's Social Spaces Online: Lessons from Radical Architects presentation at IDEA09 in Toronto outlined how architects of buildings can help us form a new approach to the architecture of human spaces online.

  • Behavior is a function of a person and his environment. We have no control over people but we can design environments
  • Designing environments is what architects do –so makes sense to study them.
  • Durable: When building Web structures, we should think about durability. Make sure things don’t fall down.
  • Social earthquakes: enable people to flag bad behavior. LinkedIn allows people to move recruiting emails to Job category to keep things manageable.
  • Durability mean being prepared for: technical execution, maintenance, scale, bandwidth & social innocents/idiots, trolls, spammers, criminals
  • Convenient: Convenience/usability – present no harm. Sometimes we get caught up in usability and forget about making things more beautiful. How fiercely should we adhere to laws of usability if we want to stretch ourselves
  • Beautiful: Customization creates loyalty and lock-in for people. Human nature is to interact with a shape and make it beautiful to us.
  • Space: is created by enclosing elements not by solid space. How are you creating a social space by the elements you are enclosing thing within: identity, activity, relationships
  • Empty spaces: need to fill it with something. Humans feel better in filled spaces vs. empty spaces. Need emotional resonance of home, nest, and comfort.
  • Site: Julia Morgan used natural elements from the site she built on. Context is our site: how does context affect the profile for a social networking site?
  • Structure: cannot push things against their nature. An email to one person has a high level of connectedness; 2-way connections still have level of relevance; asymmetrical allows reach but less conversation goes on.
  • Servant & Served Spaces: in social spaces we are separating settings and content. Instead we can embed our settings inside the content. Statistics when manifested in the interface can be a feedback system to encourage behavior.
  • Views: only give people half of what they want. News updates in Y! Mail –can be a partial view that entices you to engage further. Use views into social activity to engage people.
  • Proportion: relative size, not overall size.
  • Speed: are you thinking about how fast people are experiencing the site? Slow people down as needed in the interface.
  • Movement: there are no movements in most sites other than straight down. Can we insert movement and life into our sites?
  • To approach everything in a methodical manner, derides the profession – we need to move beyond.