BOOK: Designing for the Social Web by Joshua Porter 02

Following excerpts are not as structured as a serious composition should be, merely combining the selected sentences I took from the book and translated back to English.

<< Previous Chapter 1: Emergence of Social Web Era

Highlighted excerpts from Chapter 2: Framework for Social Web Development

The biggest disaster in project development is feature creep.

Not knowing what is really important, adding unnecessary feature instead of focusing on the essential one.

And this will cause competition among the features within.

The elements which the service developer cannot control:

  • The competition among the interest groups: taking each element to the different direction will diminish the effort to go to the common goal.
  • Political dispute, opinions or arguments that don’t concur: clash of different characteristic of the team members?
  • Lack of understanding about the users: clearly understood the need of users?
  • Ambiguous strategy: is strategy responsibility of only the strategy department? adopting outside strategy will change the way how the team works?
  • Absence of vision or goal: what’s the definitive measure of success?

Find the value of features and set the priorities:

  • For which task should our team invest time and energy?
  • What features must be added or deleted?
  • Are these feature work with or for the whole strategy?
  • How can avoid political dispute or argument about opinions and focus on the questions about the strategy itself?

AOF method(Activities, Object, Features):

  1. Focus on the most important activities: Always think about how to answer what the users do?
  2. Find the social objects: What social object will motivate the users to be active?
  3. Develop the essential features: What people do with social objects? How can the web service support the activities with the social objects?

The most important question: What does people do with the service?

People take interest on the service which does one thing so good.

Purpose if the final state the users try their best to get. Activity is the collection of methods to achieve that purpose.

If the activity were clear and specific, there wouldn’t be any need for a service to organizing it.

Profit or property are the auxiliary result out of the activity.


  • Interview: Focus on what they do, ignoring what opinions they have.
  • Usability test: Observe the users to know what activities they do, if they are satisfied or not with the activities.
  • On-site observation: Becoming the users themselves. Contextual research is getting information by actually observing the process.
  • Self-observation: For it’s almost impossible to be objective about oneself, it’s better to do it as a pair.
  • Listening to the reviews, using feedback forum

Don’t be afraid to change the ideas of own.

Identify the social object; the social medium or the social interactivity that connects the users. The object, the topic or the idea that is shared by the users.

What people want to do to achieve these purposes? Answering to this question will identify the essential features that must be developed.

Adding more features will cause conflict. Introduce the new feature to the users, actually operate it, and modify it make it more usable and useful.

Develop the most unique feature as possible, not imitating the others.

Next Chapter 3: Sincere Conversation >>


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