Web 2.0 Expo NY: Joshua Porter’s “Designing for Community”

Here is the first of many round-ups from this week’s Web 2.0 Expo NY. Tuesday afternoon featured in-depth half-day sessions. I was only able to attend in the afternoon and I caught Josh Porter’s “Designing for Community.”

My Twitter stream from the session:

  • @bokardo is currently doing UX design for Chi.mp. Mentioned party tonight @shakeshack
  • Agenda: What is community? Growing your community. Designing for reputations. Dealing with hiccups. Cultivating passion.
  • “Online community is a forced move, resulting from the inefficient ecology of the Industrial Revolution”
  • Online community is the trend that’s getting us back in touch with the people who provide the things that we consume
  • Whatever message you have as a company will get out whether you try to curb it or not. Ppl will find a way to communicate about it
  • Community is a group of people with a common characteristic, often an activity that they do
  • “One of the biggest challenges in designing a community is figuring out what kind of activity you’re supporting”
  • http://Ravelry.com community for knitters
  • Thesis: Community is not a feature of software. It’s “when you make people better at that activity by supporting them or helping them support each other
  • 3 types of conversation: company->person, person->person within community, person->person outside community
  • You don’t create communities, you cultivate them. You have comm whether you know it or not. They grow & evolve. Need to be managed
  • You can’t own a community. Not everyone gets along in a community. Community is more than support, it’s about getting better.
  • Benefits of community, usage lifecycle: unaware, interested, first-time use, regular use, passionate use
  • Regular use: ppl who use your software regularly feel they’re getting value. Promote this sense of efficacy to gain their passion
  • As your community becomes more mature, expenditure for user support goes down. Users will give you ideas, mktg, 3rd party add-ons
  • Sitting next to @tikkers, community-manager extraordinaire :)
  • What features to add? Model interactions that already exist. Watch how ppl currently interact w/ each other and w/ you
  • What problems do they already have and how are they currently solving them? Then ask: How can we model this in software?
  • Breaking down what’s on a YouTube video page. Objects: 1) video, 2) meta user info, 3) other vids, 4) promoted vids, 5) responses
  • Still, video object takes almost 50% of screen. Everything is centered around that. Entire page is objects of *verbs*
  • YouTube, Netflix (“one of the most straightforward sites out there”), Yelp (reviews, friends, compliments). Simple objects on page
  • Amazon product page is freaking long (try it on http://superscreenshot.com), but almost all social objects on the page
  • People outside of your company can’t tell you what your social features need to be. You need to do your own research.
  • How to do this research: Build outward: start w ppl you know, get them up to speed, invite their friends, get them up to speed, etc.
  • Chi.mp has given out several hundred beta invites and constantly talking to them about their experiences
  • Community Manager has become one of the most important roles at a company now. Liason between company and users
  • Best example of Community Manager is Craig Newmark of craigslist. “Isn’t altruism or social activism. Just giving ppl a break.”
  • “All world religions tell us moral value to help others. Customer service is expression of that value, everyday form of compassion”
  • Community Manager is responsible for morale, greeting new members, handling feedback, advocating for users, identifying trends
  • Community Manager is responsible enforcing rules for participation, evangelizing software & community, growing support documentation
  • Trendfinder takes in feedback and communicates to team members and rest of community through documentation
  • Harriet Klausner is the 1 reviewer on Amazon.com. Joined in 2000 and if you do the math has read 5.56 books/per since then ;) …and she’s given them all 4 starts or better.
  • Is Harriet Klausner a good thing for Amazon? She’s written 17,125 reviews as of 2 weeks ago. Is “Top Reviewer” good for their comm?
  • Other people in the Amazon community are really upset by Harriet Klausner because she’s seen as fake
  • Lawrence Bernabo has fewer than 1/2 of Harriet’s total reviews, but he leads on helpful votes. 14.11% to her 6.18% Quite interesting
  • “Your reputation is equal to the sum of your past actions within a community”- @soldierant, IxD Lead for Yahoo! Reputation Platform
  • @mediajunkie just got a mention. Hi Christian!
  • Yahoo! Pattern Library’s reputation patterns
  • @bokardo currently going through competitive spectrum, named levels, identifying labels, etc on the Yahoo! Reputation Patterns
  • @bokardo still going through the Yahoo! Pattern Library reputation patterns. It’s a great resource and very thorough
  • Profile has to be context specific, “community-specific identity.” Political/religious views on Facebook but not LinkedIn
  • @bokardo mentioning how Twitter’s spam cleaning had accidentally made people lose followers. Twitterers care about their s
  • “What you expose in an interface becomes the entire universe for the people who use it.” — Director of UX at eBay. Dead right
  • When you add a reputation feature make sure you really want to keep it because your users will go apeshit when you take it away
  • Optimize for value: added behavior. Example: Consumating dating site. Thumbs up/down to other members. Caused too much judging
  • “The reward system was part of the downfall of the site.” You have to reward people for positive behavior, not just any behavior
  • Ben Brown, founder of Consumating, admitted that negative reputation on their site led to their downfall, led to less participation
  • Okay, it’s break time at @bokardo’s “Design for Community” talk. See you in a bit
  • @bokardo is back on, now talking about reciprocity.
  • Mentioned @cwodtke at LinkedIn who noted that almost everyone who gets a recommendation from someone writes one back
  • Not always best to reuse all objects on all pages. Think about where it’s appropriate and where not. Do you want to encourage it?
  • Dealing with hiccups: Dreamhost blog made light of their massive error in overcharging customers. Customers got angry at attitude
  • @bokardo talking about @jetblue’s email to customers after runway disaster. He’s calling it a great example of dealing w/ backlash
  • Top Diggers on Digg cause stories to get greater prominence on the homepage. List shows names and several metrics about them
  • Over time, ppl on top of the list wanted to stay on top. Then Diggers started colluding w each other, digging each other’s posts
  • To prevent this they removed link to Digg their friends’ stuff from the profile page. You can still do it from the story page.
  • Also can’t Digg stories from someone’s profile page. Closing the system just slightly had a major positive impact
  • @bokardo showing his Facebook page live. He has 22 friend requests. Will have many more after this talk. (2 good karma requests)
  • Talking about FB’s news feed backlash on release day. Ppl feared all their info in one place, even though it was all there already
  • Currently 1 million ppl have joined the FB group on hating the new redesign
  • Ppl want control over their info. News feed privacy settings were released, but very few ppl actually use them. Just feel better now
  • On social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia, real problem w spam b/c ppl just wanna spread links. Designated best users “Gardeners” to flag
  • Cultivating passion. It’s not about passion for your software, it’s passion for learning
  • @kathysierra getting quoted again
  • Dogster helps people learn about and get better at taking care of their dogs. Passion for the content, become better at activity
  • Support what people are searching for
  • Ravelry, knitting social network, was started by a woman who couldn’t find good patterns online (truthfully, it’s really hard)
  • 3 sections: organize, share, discover. Organize (make better at knitting on their own), Share (social)
  • @bokardo’s favorite community site is PatientsLikeMe. Helps ppl w disease find others w same symptoms. Started w ALS, theres no cure
  • let’s user track symptoms/treatments, great visualizations. Started as support network but data viz allow users track what’s working
  • @bokardo: “PatientsLikeMe is Facebook with value”
  • You can’t just look at Yahoo! Pattern Library and say “we need this, this and this.” Must be tailored to your specific users
  • Presentation is over. Now @bokardo is taking questions
  • How do you find out what users need? Interviews, surveys. Open-ended questions. Ground in actual activity. Dig into “always”&”never”
  • @bokardo just said “contextual inquiry” at a tech conference. I wonder how many ppl’s eyes just rolled back in their head ;)
  • @chrissieb asking about PatientsLikeMe and sensitivity around the online identity associated with a disease. @bokardo: public opt-in

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