Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Social Features?

I found this link while doing research for my Craigslist redesign project:

The survey was said to have found that speed of loading (Visibility of system status), simple design (Aesthetic and minimalist design), fewer clicks (Flexibility and efficiency of use) and a preference for text searching and intuitive navigation (User control and freedom & Consistency and standards) were important traits in web applications. This said, I think we've all heard that before in Nielsen's Heuristics and Shneiderman's "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design".

Social Features, like a Tweet or Facebook "Like" button, seem to take the backseat to the basic usability of the site, which once typed out, seems to be common sense. To me, Social Features are just the modern version of the web Stat Counter - popular circa 1993 (and hopefully gone the way of everyone having angelfire websites). Everyone wants them on their site with the assumption that they will drive more traffic or interest - not to say, this doesn't happen or isn't at least somewhat effective for sharing information.

While an interesting article, the first thing that strikes me is how poorly the visual design of the pie chart is, specifically on a UX topic website. The use of color for the pie slices is the first thing that sticks out as a terrible mistake – the range of colors are too close to be readable and the legend perhaps would have been better as tailed text boxes pointing to each section. Secondly, the chart may have served better as a bar graph enabling the user to read the information quickly.


  1. Wow -- I completely agree as for the design of the graph. I was trying to find the corresponding label for the color of the 19% slice and it took me an uncomfortably long time!! A bar graph would have been a much better choice.

  2. Haha! Ok, so I'll admit it--I had a visitor counter AND guestbook on my Angelfire site.

  3. Having just finished playing the stakeholder role in a stakeholder interview,I have to add to this that one thing that bothers me is how many companies take "social" and define it in the ways listed in that article. To me, there's nothing social about hitting "+1" or like on Facebook or being part of a group deal on Groupon. LivingSocial's get 3 friends to buy 1 and yours is free does have a bit more of a social aspect, but I think the best social applications are still being created. A few interesting, although maybe not the best business model, things I've read about lately (from the Springwise entrepreneurship blog--which I highly recommend) are:

    Mobile app connects those who share journeys

    Roaming dining events sample four restaurants each night

    Pay-what-you-can dish fights hunger at vegan café chain

    Pepsi's Social Vending Machine

    Dinner with Strangers (not from Springwise--although I thought I first found it there)


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