At the UIE Web App Summit in Monterey, Joshua Porter walked through what designers can learn from the success of Social Web Applications:
- Most people tend to focus on visual design when evaluating the quality of Web sites. However, several highly successful Web sites (My Space, Craig’s List, & Amazon) are not designed well from a visual or interaction design perspective.
- These sites, while lacking in visual & interaction design, have great social design.
- When conducting a large-scale e-commerce study, UIE found that users often went to amazon.com before buying something on another e-commerce site to research their purchases. They called this the “Amazon Effect”.
- The content people used on Amazon was highly social: user reviews, recommendations, user-generated shopping lists, and more. In fact, Amazon had 11 social features on each & every product page.
- Sites with good social design model the social lives, goals, and interactions of their users.
Design Elements: the lowest-level building blocks of design that can be used to form higher-level structures.
- Visual Design: line, size, color, shape, texture, pattern, light, value
- Interaction Design: button, input, link, screen, navigation, cursor, check box
- Social Design: messaging, sharing, collaborating, rating, reviewing, gossiping, recommending, voting, arguing, networking
Design Principles: higher-order guides that deal with the relationship between elements.
- Visual Design: contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity
- Interaction Design: anticipation, autonomy, consistency, readability, learnability, metaphor, explorability, etc.
- Social Design: motivation, identity, control, independence, privacy, authority, gaming, community, emergence
- Motivation: identify primary motivation & create a golden path to achieve it. (del.icoi.us bookmarking)
- Identity: let people manage their identity online like they do offline (MySpace profile)
- Control: Users want control though they may never take advantage of it (Facebook news feed)
- Independence: a necessary part of enabling the wisdom of crowds. If achieved, then popularity is valuable.
- Privacy: different for everyone but a key consideration for application design.
- Authority: built up over time based on agreement on who is right or in charge.
- Gaming: it is human nature to compete and a site can benefit (digg)
- Community: it is not a feature set. It is a feeling people get with shared interests or experiences.
- Emergence: effects over time & effects at larger scales.
- Personal benefit always precedes social benefit: the Delicious lesson.