Building Social Web Applications: Establishing Community at the Heart of Your Site

Building Social Web Applications: Establishing Community at the Heart of Your Site

by Gavin Bell


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Building a web application that attracts and retains regular visitors is tricky enough, but creating a social application that encourages visitors to interact with one another requires careful planning. This book provides practical solutions to the tough questions you'll face when building an effective community site — one that makes visitors feel like they've found a new home on the Web.

If your company is ready to take part in the social web, this book will help you get started. Whether you're creating a new site from scratch or reworking an existing site, Building Social Web Applications helps you choose the tools appropriate for your audience so you can build an infrastructure that will promote interaction and help the community coalesce. You'll also learn about business models for various social web applications, with examples of member-driven, customer-service-driven, and contributor-driven sites.

  • Determine who will be drawn to your site, why they'll stay, and who they'll interact with
  • Create visual design that clearly communicates how your site works
  • Build the software you need versus plugging in one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf apps
  • Manage the identities of your visitors and determine how to support their interaction
  • Monitor demand from the community to guide your choice of new functions
  • Plan the launch of your site and get the message out

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780596518752
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/15/2009
Pages: 409
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Gavin Bell designs social web applications for the Nature Publishing Group. He is an interaction designer, community advocate and product manager. Since the early 90s, he has been writing and designing for the web. Large scale web applications covering identity, on-demand media, geolocation and social software have been the main focus of his work at NPG and previously at the BBC. He has worked in academia, advertising, publishing and developed multimedia software. He lives in London with his wife and two sons. Find out more on his personal site and his blog take one onion.

Photo © James Duncan Davidson

Table of Contents

Design As the Primary Approach;
Who This Book Is For;
Who This Book Is Not For;
What You’ll Learn;
How This Book Is Organized;
Typographical Conventions Used in This Book;
Safari® Books Online;
We’d Like to Hear from You;
How This Book Came About;
Chapter 1: Building a Social Application;
1.1 Building Applications;
1.2 The Distributed Nature of Seemingly Everything;
1.3 Summary;
Chapter 2: Analyzing, Creating, and Managing Community Relationships;
2.1 Analyzing Your Users’ Relationships;
2.2 Analyzing the Essence of Your Community’s Needs;
2.3 Summary;
Chapter 3: Planning Your Initial Site;
3.1 Deciding What You Need;
3.2 Building a Web Application;
3.3 Choosing Who You Need;
3.4 Planning the Life Cycle;
3.5 Communicating During Development;
3.6 Managing the Development Cycle;
3.7 Collecting Audience Feedback;
3.8 Summary;
Chapter 4: Creating a Visual Impact;
4.1 Dynamic Interactions;
4.2 Design First;
4.3 Copywriting;
4.4 Summary;
Chapter 5: Working with and Consuming Media;
5.1 Media Types Affect Consumption Styles;
5.2 Media Evolves and Consumption Styles Change;
5.3 New Services Respond to Evolving Needs;
5.4 Summary;
Chapter 6: Managing Change;
6.1 Resistance;
6.2 Internal Workflow;
6.3 Community Managers;
6.4 Summary;
Chapter 7: Designing for People;
7.1 Making Software for People;
7.2 Interaction Design;
7.3 Identify Needs with Personas and User-Centered Design;
7.4 Common Techniques for UCD;
7.5 Running Interaction Design Projects;
7.6 Using Agile and UCD Methods;
7.7 Beyond UCD;
7.8 Learning to Love Constraints;
7.9 Including You, Me, and Her Over There, Plus Him, Too;
7.10 Moving Quickly from Idea to Implementation;
7.11 Don’t Let Your Users Drown in Activity;
7.12 Implementing Search;
7.13 Understanding Activity and Viewpoints;
7.14 Twelve Ideas to Take Away;
7.15 Summary;
Chapter 8: Relationships, Responsibilities, and Privacy;
8.1 We Are in a Relationship?;
8.2 Personal Identity and Reputation;
8.3 Handling Public, Private, and Gray Information;
8.4 Privacy and Aggregate Views;
8.5 See But Don’t Touch: Rules for Admins;
8.6 Private by Default?;
8.7 Setting Exposure Levels;
8.8 Managing Access for Content Reuse, Applications, and Other Developers;
8.9 Summary;
Chapter 9: Community Structures, Software, and Behavior;
9.1 Community Structures;
9.2 Supporting Social Interactions;
9.3 Who Is Sharing, and Why?;
9.4 How Are They Sharing?;
9.5 Social Software Menagerie;
9.6 Groups;
9.7 Summary;
Chapter 10: Social Network Patterns;
10.1 Sharing Social Objects;
10.2 Published Sites Expect Audiences;
10.3 Deep and Broad Sharing;
10.4 Capturing Intentionality;
10.5 Cohesion;
10.6 Filtering Lists by Popularity;
10.7 Commenting, Faving, and Rating;
10.8 Internal Messaging Systems;
10.9 Friending Considered Harmful;
10.10 Sharing Events;
10.11 Summary;
Chapter 11: Modeling Data and Relationships;
11.1 Designing URLs;
11.2 Getting to the Right URL;
11.3 Permalinks;
11.4 Putting Objects on the Internet;
11.5 Aggregating Data to Create New Content;
11.6 Exploring Groups;
11.7 Making the Most of Metadata;
11.8 Connecting the Relationship to the Content;
11.9 Considering Time Implications;
11.10 Looking Beyond the Web;
11.11 Summary;
Chapter 12: Managing Identities;
12.1 Existing Identities;
12.2 Forms of Identification;
12.3 The Need for Profile Pages;
12.4 Activity Pages;
12.5 Invisibility and Privacy;
12.6 Summary;
Chapter 13: Organizing Your Site for Navigation, Search, and Activity;
13.1 Understanding In-Page Navigation;
13.2 Connecting People Through Content;
13.3 Providing Activity Pages;
13.4 Filtering Activity Lists and the Past;
13.5 Who Stole My Home Page?;
13.6 Providing for Site Navigation;
13.7 Summary;
Chapter 14: Making Connections;
14.1 Choosing the Correct Relationship Model for Your Social Application;
14.2 Information Brokers;
14.3 Notifications and Invitations;
14.4 Social Network Portability;
14.5 Spamming, Antipatterns, and Phishing;
14.6 Address Books, the OAuth Way;
14.7 Changing Relationships over Time;
14.8 Administering Groups;
14.9 Summary;
Chapter 15: Managing Communities;
15.1 Social Behavior in the Real World;
15.2 Starting Up and Managing a Community;
15.3 Trolls and Other Degenerates;
15.4 Separating Communities;
15.5 Encouraging Good Behavior;
15.6 Gaming the System;
15.7 Membership by Invitation or Selection;
15.8 Rewarding Good Behavior;
15.9 Helping the Community Manage Itself;
15.10 Balancing Anonymity and Pseudo-Anonymity;
15.11 Summary;
Chapter 16: Writing the Application;
16.1 Small Is Good: A Reprise;
16.2 How Social Applications Differ from Web Applications;
16.3 Agile Methodologies;
16.4 Deployment and Version Control;
16.5 Infrastructure and Web Operations;
16.6 Designing Social Applications;
16.7 Your App Has Its Own Point of View;
16.8 How Code Review Helps Reduce Problems;
16.9 Beyond the Web Interface, Please;
16.10 Bug Tracking and Issue Management;
16.11 Rapid User Interfaces;
16.12 Scaling and Messaging Architectures;
16.13 Implementing Search;
16.14 Identity and Management of User Data;
16.15 Federation;
16.16 Making Your Code Green and Fast;
16.17 Building Admin Tools and Gleaning Collective Intelligence;
16.18 Summary;
Chapter 17: Building APIs, Integration, and the Rest of the Web;
17.1 “On the Internet” Versus “In the Internet”;
17.2 Making Your Place Within the Internet;
17.3 Why an API?;
17.4 Being Open Is Good;
17.5 Arguing for Your API Internally;
17.6 Implementing User Management and Open Single Sign-On;
17.7 Designing an API;
17.8 Comparing Social APIs;
17.9 Reviewing the APIs;
17.10 Managing the Developer Community;
17.11 Create an API?;
17.12 Summary;
Chapter 18: Launching, Marketing, and Evolving Social Applications;
18.1 Loving and Hating the Home Page;
18.2 Financing Your Site;
18.3 Marketing;
18.4 Achieving and Managing Critical Mass;
18.5 Evolving Your Site;
18.6 Establishing the Rhythm of Your Evolving Application;
18.7 Summary;

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