An essential guide to fostering online community

· Applications, Best Practices, Design, Development, Information Architecture, long story short, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience

[Building Social Web Application book cover]Building Social Web Applications
by Gavin Bell
O’Reilly (October, 2009)

Gavin Bell draws on his extensive experience to offer a well structured guide to adding community elements to a website or application. His book will help any professional planning a social strategy, designing a set of social features, determining the types of relationships to foster among users, and even determining how best to manage change in an existing site or online structure.

Bell covers a wide gamut of issues that a site planner will need to consider, from developing the data schema for people, relationships, and objects; to how best to expose APIs to third-party developers; to the process of rolling out a new product or feature. Anyone developing a social website or app should keep this book handy throughout the process.

Bell and I share a publisher and our titles cover some similar issues. When I first picked up Bell’s finished book I gritted my teeth with envy. As I quickly devoured the book, though, I was relieved (or, at least I convinced myself) that our books are complementary and are each useful in their own way.

If you’re looking for one book to guide you through the entire process, from conception to launch and into the life of a social web application, then this is the book for you.

(via Amazon.com: Christian Crumlish “mediajunkie’s review of Building Social Web Applications”.)

Interview on the Well about Designing Social Interfaces

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

bluelogo144x60This week we’ve begun a two-week-long interview in the Well’s public Inkwell conference. The interview is being led by Jon Lebkowsky my friend and longtime co-host of the Well’s blog conference.

The cool thing about these interviews is that because they take two weeks and are published “live” they can cover a lot of interesting tangents, and so far Jon (along with Well denizens who’ve read the book, such as Brian Dear) has been asking me great, probing questions.

Gail Williams, an online community expert in her own right, has already quoted one of my throwaway lines:

“a filing cabinet has a user interface but a telephone is a social interface”

Even if you aren’t a member of the Well (and why aren’t you?), you can submit questions for the interview via [an email address that I’ll track down and post here pronto].

Slides from our mini-workshop at IDEA 2009

· Design, Games, Information Architecture, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience

Erin and I presented a condensed run through the highlights from our social design patterns project and then debuted the beta of our Social Mania card game that aims to teach and facilitate discussions about these interrelated principles, patterns, and practices. Much chaos and hilarity ensued and we learned a lot about how to explain and teach the game and perhaps how best to play it as well.

Yahoo! Design Pattern Library relaunches with 10 new social patterns

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

Over one year in the making…

The work of many hands…

A much overdue look-and-feel refresh, with some much-needed (if subtle) usability improvements…

I am bursting with pride that I’m able to announce today the relaunch of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library with “ten new patterns, a reorganized category-structure, cleaner URLs for easier bookmarking, and much, much more.”

For more details on the update see Design Patterns, Now More Open and Social, my post today on the Yahoo! Developer Network blog.

I’ll be doing more blogging over there about our library, design patterns, social design, and Yahoo!’s open and social platforms, and I’ll post some deeper dives into some of the new features and polices at the library over the coming weeks.

One key point I don’t want to gloss over:

[W]e are moving to a much more open pattern review and revision process: We’ve added a new rating level for patterns called “Beta,” and we will use it to publish unfinished patterns and request comments on them from the larger community. The accordion pattern will be the first guinea pig for this process, as we already published a survey through the YUI blog to solicit community input.

Bulletin article Boingboinged

· Information Architecture, long story short, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience

Cory Doctorow picked up on a brief mention from Bruce Sterling in his wired blog pointing to my recent bulletin article. Cory adds

Stupid pitfalls of social media: This American Society for Information Science and Technology paper by Yahoo’s Christian Crumlish has a tidy little cosmology of dumb things that social media does.

Commenters seem inclined to discuss the html rendering of the Bulletin article at the ASIS&T website but a few chimed in to either agree with the observations or suggest that they’re perhaps rather obvious in hindsight.

I wanted to add a comment suggesting that we welcome skepticism and critical feedback and that the wiki is open to editing by anyone, but the sign up procedure for the Boingboing blog involves a password email that I don’t seem to be receiving.