Social design patterns talk at BayCHI next week

· Design, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience, Yahoo!

Next Tuesday (April 8, 2008) I’ll be speaking at BayCHI on the topic of social patterns in a talk called Social Design and the Yahoo! Pattern Library:

Social networking sites are proliferating. New social media aggregrators appear every day. Venerable old sites are adding social features or trying to activate the social profiles of their users and members. A number of the interaction patterns that drive social relationships online are becoming clear (as well as a number of nasty “antipatterns”). Christian will talk about social patterns, previewing some that are in the works for the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library as well as others that he has noted “in the wild.” The newly redesigned Yahoo! Developer Network site is the host of Yahoo’s open design pattern library. Over the next few months, Yahoo! will be rolling out a series of open and social APIs and the pattern library will be gathering and sharing best practices for social web design.

I’m still trying to figure out what I can share and what I can’t, so I may focus on social design patterns observed “in the wild,” as well as my current favorite topics of presence, identity, and attention.
BayCHI talks typically have two speakers back to back, and I’m really looking forward to hearing Amy Jo Kim from Shufflebrain, who is speaking before me on the topic “Putting the Fun in Functional: Applying Game Mechanics to Social Software”:

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of interactive services that harness the collective efforts of users. On the web, services like MySpace, YouTube, FaceBook, Flickr, and Digg are providing hours of entertainment to millions of people. These game-like services are changing the face of networked entertainment, and rapidly displacing television as a leisure-time activity. They share three key elements: user-generated content, community infrastructure, and game mechanics. In this talk, I’ll review the psychology and system thinking behind game design, and explore how to use game mechanics to create interactive experiences that are fun, compelling and addictive.

I don’t want this blog to turn into just a litany of upcoming speaking appearances, but then again it would be foolish not to post these announcements, right?

Talking patterns and social design at the IA Summit

· Design, Information Architecture, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience, Yahoo!

If you’re interested in interaction design patterns or in the elements of social web design, then come on down to Miami in April for the IA Summit and either sign up for one of the two pre-conference workshops I’m helping teach or see my presentation or panel in the main program.
Here are the basic facts about the two workshops (more details in the title links):
* **Design patterns: from interaction to design to build** is a full-day workshop I’m teaching with Erin Malone and Lucas Pettinati, colleagues of mine from the user experience design team of the Yahoo! Developer Network. Erin founded the pattern library and has captained it throughout its entire existence (going on four years) with the help of three curators, me being the third. Lucas is the lead designer on the YDN redesign project and works directly with the Yahoo! User Interface library team, so he’s intimately familiar with the development challenges and issues involved with implementing design patterns in the real world.
* **Design and architecture of social web experiences** is a full-day workshop I’m teaching with Christina Wodtke and Joshua Porter. Christina is a director of product management at LinkedIn, a co-founder of the IA Institute, founder of Boxes and Arrows (the leading online user experience design magazine), and founder of Cucina Media, the makers of PublicSquare, the publishing/community software B+A now runs on. Joshua Porter is a former associate of Jared Spool’s UIE and writes the popular Bokardo blog on social web design.
And here are the basic details about the presentation and the panel:
* **Designing with Patterns in the Real World** is a presentation I am giving with Austin Govella, a senior information architect at Comcast Media. We both have plenty of hands-on experience with the trials, tribulations, and occasional triumphs that stem from applying design patterns to real world interaction, information, and interface design problems and we plan to let it all hang out.
* **Presence, Identity, and Attention in Social Web Architecture** is a panel I’m moderating featuring a “murderer’s row” of some of the leading thinkers in user experience and social web design: Christina Wodtke of LinkedIn, Andrew Hinton of Vanguard, Gene Smith of nForm, and Brian Oberkirch of Small Good Thing. I’ve been talking to all of these folks for some time about my latest hobbyhorse (presence) and the rest of the “human OS” stack that social web applications are built on. I plan to run a tight ship and am expecting a great multi-perspective dialogue to ensue.
I’ll devote a whole blog post to each of these items as the Summit gets closer, but wanted to mention it now while there’s still time to sign up for the conference at early-bird prices.
See you in Miami?

I'm speaking on presence and reputation with Ted Nadeau at SxSW

· conventionology, Social Design, User Experience

meet_me_at_125x125.gifIf you’re interested in social web design, how to model identity, presence, and reputation, and how to create and align incentives with the behaviors you wish to encourage in your online community, then join Ted Nadeau and me for a Core Conversation on the topic of “Online Identity: And I *do* give a damn about my bad reputation” at South by Southwest interactive this March, in Austin, Texas (of course).
UPDATE: Alex Lee in the comments asked me when my talk is scheduled for. It’s on Tuesday, and I think it’s in the morning but not sure about. Will update with exact info when I have it.
UPDATE II: It seems that we will be doing our core conversation in a late slot (5pm) on the last day (Tuesday, March 11) of the interactive portion of the conference. I say if the conversation is good, let’s continue it into the evening over food and libations. Maybe we’ll even launch a startup over beer and barbecue.

Notchup invites a cock-up?

· Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

I’m having second thoughts about Notchup. The other day I checked my mail in the morning, as is my wont, and found an invitation to Notchup from a friend who left Yahoo a while back to work with venture capitalists. I wondered if this was something he had had a hand in, but I didn’t ask. I went and signed up because it sounded interesting.
A few years ago I had some interviews at LinkedIn for a position that didn’t work out (didn’t work out for me, at least) and they asked me at the time for suggestions and ideas about additional businesses or products they could build on top of their existing platform. I was gung ho at the time about the idea of a reverse-auction style site for hiring. Just as Priceline reversed the polarity on hotel and plane bookings by having customers bid what they are willing to pay and having vendors match that, I figured that job searches could also work in reverse.
Instead of applying for a job, you could advertise the sort of work you are willing and qualified to take on and prospective employers could apply to *you* and try to make the case that you should “hire” them to be your new boss. The LinkedIn guys suggested that that’s what they were already doing but I thought there was still something missing from that model.
So Notchup seems to be somewhat in that same ballpark, which was why I thought I’d check it out.
Next, I saw that they had a way to import your personal info (effectively, your resume) from your LinkedIn account, if you have one. That sounded a lot better than entering all the data myself, again, so even though I had qualms about this violating LinkedIn’s terms of service, and even though it’s generally not a good idea to give your login credentials for one site to another site (even if “all it’s going to do” is scrape some data from the screeen), I went ahead and did that.
So then Notchup offered to enable me to invite my LinkedIn connections into their beta, saving those people the trouble of applying. I started that sequence and went through my list of contacts, which is long so this was tedious, unchecking the folks I figured are either definitely not looking for a job, or whom I don’t actually know that well, or whom I believed would have no interest in the latest social network thingamabob.
I assumed I would have the chance to write a personal note, something along the lines of
> Hi! I’m checking out this new site called Notchup. I don’t know much about it and I don’t necessarily endorse it, but I thought you might be interest in checking it out too.
Unfortunately, before I was given an opportunity to write a note or even review the boilerplate they were going to sign my name to, I was notified that the invitations had been sent. This is not as bad as what Tagged.com and some other sites have done, tricking people into virally inviting their entire address books, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.
All that morning and the next day I got email notifications of friends joining Notchup, and a few personal notes from people asking me if this was for real – because we’ve all gotten spammy invitations in the past. When people asked I told them the gist of what I would have written in the invitation, but many people just joined, apparently trusting me. By now I wasn’t sure what the person who had invited me was thinking.
Then, the other day I saw a message from Russell Unger on the IA Institute members mailing list establishing that he had done more (that is, some) due diligence and actually read Notchup’s terms of service, and that he had uncovered some troubling clauses in the user agreement:
> 9\. NotchUp reserves the right to offer third party services and
products to You based on the preferences that You identify in your
registration and at any time thereafter; such offers may be made by
NotchUp or by third parties.
>
> 10\. Without limiting any of the other disclaimers of warranty set
forth in these Terms, NotchUp does not provide or make any
representation as to the quality or nature of any of the third party
products or services purchased through NotchUp.com or any other NotchUp
Site, or any other representation, warranty or guaranty. Any such
undertaking, representation, warranty or guaranty would be furnished
solely by the provider of such third party products or services, under
the terms agreed to by the provider.
As Russell pointed out, this sounds a lot like signing up for Notchup means agreeing to receive spam.
He also pointed out another pair of clauses:
> 18\. You understand and acknowledge that you have no ownership rights
in your NotchUp account (“NotchUp Account”), and that if you cancel
your NotchUp Account, all your account information from NotchUp,
including resumes, profiles, cover letters, network contacts, saved
jobs, questionnaires and email mailing lists, will be marked as deleted
in NotchUp’s databases and will be removed from any public area of the
NotchUp Sites. Information may continue to be available for some period
of time because of delays in propagating such deletion through
NotchUp’s web servers. In addition, third parties may retain cached
copies of your Information.
>
> 19\. Your email and other data that you submit as part of the resume
will be made available to our recruiters and employers. NotchUp.com
doesn’t have any control over how that data would be used. If you don’t
want any such data to be displayed your only remedy is not to post any
resume.
So now I’m really concerned, particularly about seeming to vouch for a site and luring a bunch of best contacts into it. I’ll keep an eye on Notchup but so far I don’t like what I’m seeing, and to those I invited in before researching the subject further, I apologize.

Help me write my book about presence

· Patterns, Social Design, Teamwork, The Power of Many, User Experience

most recent tweet
I’m going to write my book, Presence of Mind (working title), on a wiki with as much input from others as possible. I’m also starting a mailing list to discuss online presence and related topics (extending from closely related matters such as identity, reputation, attention, privacy and so on, out to the full array of social web design patterns).
If you’re interested in joining this conversation, let me know and I’ll invite you when the list is set up.

Some possible best practices for social design

· Patterns, Social Design, User Experience

bokardo.jpgJoshua Porter, who specializes in Social Web Design and with whom I’ve debated in the past around the perennially boring topic of “Information Architecture vs. Interaction Design, Which is the Best Discipline EVAR!?!?,” has culled an interesting list of social design best practices from Google’s documentation of its new “OpenSocial” API collection.
The interesting (to me) recommended practices are the following (re-paraphrased, somewhat, from how the practices are labeled in Google’s document, using some of Joshua’s verbiage where I found it clearer):
> * Enable self expression via personalization
> * Show what friends are doing
> * Let people explore friends and friends of friends
> * Provide commenting features
> * Expose multiple areas of similarity
> * Solve real world problems through social connections
(The other recommendations were interesting too but they seemed to be more about good widget design and good web experience design in general and not particularly about social, let alone open and social.)
The last item, of course, was the theme of The Power of Many.
The browsing-friends-of-friends one is questionable, too. At LinkedIn, that’s an option. I guess it goes to openness, but it also cuts against privacy. I don’t necessarily want everyone viewing my address book or using me as a step-ladder to meet someone else. To me that’s not social – it’s antisocial. More importantly, I believe in leaving those decisions in the hands of the user as much as possible.
Porter sees some other important issues here:
> [W]e’re clearly seeing a set of practices emerge across all social software that centers around getting people started quickly, allowing for self-expression, engaged in real-life tasks, yet also allowing for flexible discovery and play…. [S]ocial networks have changed the way we look at software in just a couple years.
>
> [O]nly two or three of the best practices are necessarily part of “social networking” software. They could be used in any kind of social software, be it productivity software for groups or even e-commerce sites that help people find the right product.
>
> That, to me, is the essence of social design. It isn’t relegated to social networking, even though the rise of social networking is what helped to clarify and refine the ideas. It’s about building software that takes advantage of social connections to provide enhanced value.
Good food for thought.