Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Best Practices and Patterns for Designing the Social Web

Design & User Experience, Workshop
Location: 2005 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.53, 19 ratings)

Based on our new book—Designing Social Interfaces—we will present the dos and don’ts of social web design. Using a sampling from the collection of interaction patterns, design principles and best practices from the book, we will give you tips and strategies to help you improve the design of your digital social environments.

We start with a foundational set of high-level practices that underpin the individual interactions, a “parent” principle if you will, and then will offer rules and tips for how to mix-and-match the individual social patterns and best practices to create compelling social experiences.

The workshop leaders, user experience designers who’ve worked on Yahoo!’s platform design, developer network, interaction design pattern library, and open strategy teams, have a combined 20 years of experience designing interactions and establishing guidelines for social environments on the web and off.

This workshop should provide an overview and the building blocks; a reference set of much-debated foundational documents to initiate, refresh, or jumpstart a designer’s social practice. We will mix presentations introducing the key concepts and common problems with group discussions about how to mix and match the various patterns and principles to solve some real world problems.

These are some examples of the types of questions we will discuss

Problem: Help! I’m a designer being asked to add “social” to my site! What are the basics?”

Problem: I have an active community on my site but people are misbehaving. How can I get that under control?

Problem: We want to build a really cool social experience around [thingy] but we’re not sure how to get people to come join the fun [aka, the “cold start” problem]

Problem: I have a great idea for a social utility but I don’t want to have to first re-create the social infrastructure of the Web inside of it.

Problem: People come and read my content, but they’re invisible to each other. How can I peel away the layers so they can participate with each other?

Problem: I’m worried I’m missing an opportunity to help my members connect with each other in the real world.

Some of the patterns, principles, practices, and antipatterns we may cover are Design for Everyone, Leave Unfinished, Conversational Voice, Your (Not My), Be Open, Invitation, The Password Anti-pattern, Gradual Engagement, Welcome Area, Profile, Faceted Identity, Avatar, Personal Dashboard, Statuscasting, Lifestream Signs of Life, Keep Company, Ambient Intimacy, Leaderboard Anti-pattern, Sense-Making, Lurking Allowed, Favorites, Vote to Promote, Thumbs, Ratings, Tagging, Flagging, Microblogging, GeoMashing, Sock Puppet, Thanks for Sharing, the Wiki Way, Relationships, Circles of Intimacy, Stalking, the Ex-Boyfriend Anti-pattern, Ridiculously Easy Group Formation, Pivoting, Subscribe to Updates, Casual Privacy, Model Citizen, Badging Out, Open APIs, Community Management, Neighborhood, Manifesting, Mapping, Geo-tagging, Event Making and Social Object.

Photo of Erin Malone

Erin Malone

Tangible UX

Erin Malone, Principal with Tangible UX, has over 20 years of experience leading design teams and developing social experiences as well as web and software applications and system-wide solutions. Prior to Tangible, she spent 4 years at Yahoo! leading the Platform User Experience Design team where they were responsible for building the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library and for providing design expertise to the popular YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library). Additionally, she led the redesign of the Yahoo! Developer Network, oversaw the redesign of Yahoo!‘s registration system, developed the ux team’s intranet and worked on other cross-company initiatives. Before Yahoo!, she was a Design Director at AOL, Creative Director at AltaVista and chief Information Architect for Zip2. She was the founding editor-in-chief of Boxes and Arrows, is the author of several articles on interaction design history and design management and a founding member of the IA Institute. She is currently working on the book Designing Social Interfaces with Christian Crumlish for O’Reilly Media.

Photo of Christian Crumlish

Christian Crumlish


Christian Crumlish is a writer, information architect, and digital designer.

He is a consumer experience evangelist at AOL, an advisor to and director emeritus of the Information Architecture Institute, and co-chair of the monthly BayCHI program. He was the curator of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library for several years.

He is the author of the bestselling The Internet for Busy People, and The Power of Many, and co-author most recently of Designing Social Interfaces with Erin Malone. He has spoken about social patterns at BarCamp Block, BayCHI, South by Southwest, the IA Summit, Ignite, Web 2.0 Expo, PLoP, IDEA, Web Directions, the Web App Masters Tour, and WebVisions.

Christian has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton. He lives in Oakland with his wife Briggs, his cat Fraidy, and his electric ukulele, Evangeline.

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Felicitas Piegsda-Rohowski
04/05/2009 9:31am PDT

The speakers provided well structured reference lists of items to work through for social patterns. Useful!

Picture of Christian Crumlish
Christian Crumlish
04/01/2009 1:55am PDT

let’s see if this embed works:

Social Patterns Talk – Web 2.0 versionView more presentations from Erin Malone.

or just an html link: Social Patterns Talks (Web 2.0 Expo version)

or if not, here’s a direct link:

Picture of Roland Rountree
Roland Rountree
03/31/2009 7:23am PDT

I thought the presentation was well done and informative. I especially liked some of the diagrams they used to model a user and activities in the enterprise.

Muhammad Saeed
03/31/2009 5:39am PDT

Can anybody post link to the slides for this session ? Thanks

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