420 Homer Street
Vancouver, British Columbia

As the popularity of social networks on the web has risen dramatically over the last few years, many designers and developers have found themselves running into a bit of a dilemma: does one design and build for promotion and virality, or to enhance their site’s existing community experience? Fear not, fellow user interaction designers; these two things need not be mutually exclusive.

Creating a sense of community in a web-based environment is a complex puzzle at the best of times, with hundreds of moving parts that can be hard to nail down. It’s also an exhilarating experience that can be as addictive to designers and developers as any drug. This session will work through several examples of how you can design (or update) your site to integrate some of the key elements required to build any successful community:

:: Create a barrier to entry (it’s not as bad as it sounds!)
:: Provide users with a sense of identity and ownership
:: Give users control over their content
:: Provide social tools for discussion and collaboration
:: Offer multiple paths to discover interesting content
:: Encourage reciprocity and cross-pollination
:: Don’t be a faceless entity: get involved in your community
:: Create and develop your super-fans
:: Allow your community to share content and promote itself
:: Listen to your users: triage feedback, iterate quickly, grow organically


Nick Bouton is a user experience developer and community architect based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has over 10 years of experience in software and web application design and development, and is passionate about creating and growing online communities.

Nick is responsible for front-end development of web solutions at Habañero Consulting Group, which includes interaction and interface design and development, establishing look and feel, and ensuring usability. A dynamic developer, Nick has extensive experience developing rich internet applications (RIAs) using AJAX, Web 2.0, and client scripting. He works primarily with the .NET Framework, as well as various open source platforms.

In addition to his position at Habañero, Nick is the founder of Taunt Media, a consultancy that sponsors, develops, and nurtures several community-driven collaborative website properties including Protagonize (www.protagonize.com), a collaborative fiction-writing community. Nick majored in Computer Science at UBC, and studied Java development at BCIT. Prior to beginning work at Habañero, he held a variety of positions including as development lead for OpenRoad Communications’ enterprise 2.0 intranet, ThoughtFarmer; as a software engineer at Versatile Mobile Systems, and as technical lead for Tribal DDB Canada in Vancouver.

Official Website: http://www.vanue.com

Added by bskelton on April 25, 2009