Social Interaction Design Primer

14 Oct 2008 - 7:22pm
5 years ago
10 replies
1745 reads
Ian Chan
2005

Folks,

It's been a long while since I posted here, but wanted to solicit
feedback on this brief intro to Social Interaction Design (design for
social media)

http://www.gravity7.com/blog/media/2008/10/social-interaction-design-primer.html

It's a short piece on how social interaction design differs from
conventional UI and user experience design, and in it I attempt an
overview of the three kinds of user and three modes of the social
interface.

All feedback welcome -- in comments or here!

thanks!

adrian chan

415 516 4442
Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)

Comments

14 Oct 2008 - 10:03pm
Juan Lanus
2005

comments ...

1- [all] No subtitles, no bullets, no way to preview what cones next in the
online permanent state of decision on if I keep reading or not. Or at least
try to make the paragraps of noticeably different sizes ... :-)

2- [para #2] "In fact our industry, perhaps more than any other, relies on
delivering compelling user experiences for its success." Well, IMO all
industries do: car makers, dress makers, book editors, sausage sellers,
musicians (hmmmm ... Keith Jarrett ...). The only one that need not consider
the user is the IRS and the likes.
Our industry is peculiar in that it spent half a century in a state of
autism, thus "the inmates...". It was not until the internet bubble that
computer UIs were exposed to untrained ("not specially trained") people and
flopped en masse, triggering Jake and the usability wave.

3- [para #4] "For example, the conventional user-centric view starts with
user needs and goals. In social media these are not necessarily rational and
objective." and the open-endedness of social interaction is quite
interesting an idea.
But the "users" do have a goal, there is always a goal, not as specific as
"transfer money to that account" but maybe "communicate". It reminds me of a
scenario somebody pictured a while ago of the students in a japanese
university sitting at the cafeteria sending SMS, why don't they talk!?
Communicating without hhaving to talk might be such goal ...

3- [lost count...] This seems to me a really useful point of view:
"Self-interested users act from a position of Self
Other-interested users react to an Other (user)
Relationally-interested users interact through social activity"
In Waldorf schools they say there are three statuses of the human person:
parasit, egoist, and altruist. I loosely related them to the three stances
you identified.

4- [near bottom] "... more innovation of the presentation layer, by means of
Flash, for example." brings a technology and I would not. You take the
reader for a flight at filosophical heights and recalling a technology you
crash her against the ground, a concrete ground. The abstraction level
descends orders of magnitude in a few lines.
And my take, quality of the UI does not depend that much in the tecnology
but in the talent of those involved.

Thanks for requesting comments.

One more: I work for a company that does outsourcing. We have both normal
and big clients, including one whose name starts with a blue "G" and is
fostering a social media platform .. what's its name ... it's in the T-shirt
I'm wearing right now: "open social".
In the company there is much excitement about social networks. But I don't
see the meat, besides consuming bandwith.
So I read your primer with lots of interest, in another attempt to see the
light. It happened, up to a certain amount: thank you.
--
Juan Lanus

14 Oct 2008 - 11:55pm
Robert Reimann
2003

Adrian,

Thanks for your post and link to a thoughtful article.

In some respects, the idea of SxD reminds me of the beginnings of the web,
when IA was touted as a new field that reflected the unique aspects of
design for this new medium. But those of us who had been doing IxD before
the web realized that this was not really the case: designing for the web
had unique constraints due to available technology: our prediction was that
as web technology improved, IA and IxD would become nearly
indistinguishable, which is close to where we are now.

So what of SxD? Well, I have to admit that, like Juan, I am skeptical of
most of the differences you seek to draw. The methods and principles of IxD
discussed in About Face and other volumes hold up, I believe, quite well in
social software contexts, assuming that you understand the user behaviors
and motivations. The challenges of identifying user behavior patterns
(personas) for consumer social networking applications are the same as those
for any consumer software: behavior is dictated by lifestlye choices, which
can be difficult to nail down compared to enterprise applications, where
business roles are usually well-defined and user behaviors have a relatively
close mapping to them.

That said, your observations about Facebook behavior patterns are quite
interesting, and highlight something that may be unique about social
networking applications: significant usage patterns may perhaps be described
almost mathematically by the relationships between nodes in the network.
Clay Shirky described this for blogs years ago in this article:

http://shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html

His observation is basically that connections in the network determine blog
site "behavior" and influence in the blogosphere. When blogs attract large
numbers of incoming links, the nature of those blogs tends to change to that
of a broadcast medium. Blogs with low numbers of incoming links remain more
conversational.

I think this basic idea can be generalized to all social networks: there
seem to be 3 basic states for a node in a social network as defined by its
connectivity: it can have many more incoming connections than outgoing, many
more outgoing than incoming, or roughly equal incoming and outgoing
connections. In addition, there is a continuum of total connections, from
few to many. Applying this to your Facebook example, your self-oriented
users would have more incoming connections (viewers) than outgoing. Your
other-oriented would have the reverse; they would primarily be
viewing/touching other nodes. Your relation-oriented would have roughly
equally interactions with others. I think that the differences in connection
volumes may be another interesting dimension for you to explore there in
term of behaviors and motivations. To me this is all fascinating because of
the possibility of intuiting a set of behavior patterns from what amounts to
a mathematical model, which is obviously not a typical approach to persona
creation. Of course, while it may describe WHAT people are doing, it doesn't
detail WHY, which is where qualitiative user research and more typical
persona development would come into the picture.

So, my conclusion? Social networks are interesting because some of the
behavior of the system is dependent on the topology of the network. That is
certainly a difference from unitary application design, but is it enough to
call SxD its own field? I'm not certain, but I don't think so. But it is at
the very least an area of IxD that is ripe for exploration.

Robert.

Robert Reimann
IxDA Seattle

Associate Creative Director
frog design
Seattle, WA

On Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 5:22 PM, adrian chan <adrian at gravity7.com> wrote:

> Folks,
>
> It's been a long while since I posted here, but wanted to solicit feedback
> on this brief intro to Social Interaction Design (design for social media)
>
>
> http://www.gravity7.com/blog/media/2008/10/social-interaction-design-primer.html
>
> It's a short piece on how social interaction design differs from
> conventional UI and user experience design, and in it I attempt an overview
> of the three kinds of user and three modes of the social interface.
>
> All feedback welcome -- in comments or here!
>
> thanks!
>
>
> adrian chan
>
> 415 516 4442
> Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
> Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
> LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

16 Oct 2008 - 5:57pm
Ian Chan
2005

Robert,

Thanks for your engaging response. I see SxD as a subspecies of, but
not identical to IxD. Simply because the interaction is user :
software : user (not user : software). There are two or more subjects
involved, not one, and this sets up the necessity (theoretically) for
a paradigm based on human communication and social interaction, not
human - machine interaction. In the latter, there is one dimension of
contingency in "meaning," that is the individual user's intention,
motive, and resulting behavior. But in mediated social interaction,
there is a double contingency (this term is straight out of
linguistics), which is to say that the subject can anticipate the
other subject's interpretation to his/her acts, and takes these into
account. There would be no "etiquette" or "social practices," rituals,
etc online if each of us were not attuned to what's going on and how
to behave, *socially.*

I have enormous respect for Cooper and for personas, but again, I
think they're misapplied if used in social media interaction design. i
don't think user behavior is dictated by lifestyle choices, etc, but
by proximate communication and interaction motives. Some of these
aren't even conscious to the user -- such as self-esteem, flirtation,
popularity, and so on. Users have psychological interests, in
themselves, in how they look to others, in what they believe others
think of them, in others, in an audience at large, and so on -- and
these transcend lifestyle choices. Users also have moods, attitudes,
dispositions, and these cannot be accounted for in lifestyle
preferences for they shift and change, and again, transcend lifestyle.

Personally, I think Clay Shirky is a rockstar and his work and
presentations are fantastic. But I don't think we can explain behavior
by social network analysis (SNA). And SNA would be the first to admit
that as a theory it treats the user (or node) as a black box. One can
describe and observe social networks by graphing nodes and edges, but
the view taken explains phenomena as constrained by network relations
-- it doesnt describe motivations, intentionality, or experience.

To get to experience, speaking strictly theoretically, you have to
have a theory of consciousness or mind, or "subjectivity" -- that's
not treated by SNA.

You're absolutely right that connectedness plays a part in the
behavior of users in social networks. But it's not adequate, in and of
itself, to describe user experience. We would need to map the tools we
can use to observe, track, and measure activity (objective model) with
a subjective framework for the framing and proceeding of mediated
interactions.

cheers!
adrian

On Oct 14, 2008, at 9:55 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:

> Adrian,
>
> Thanks for your post and link to a thoughtful article.
>
> In some respects, the idea of SxD reminds me of the beginnings of
> the web,
> when IA was touted as a new field that reflected the unique aspects of
> design for this new medium. But those of us who had been doing IxD
> before
> the web realized that this was not really the case: designing for
> the web
> had unique constraints due to available technology: our prediction
> was that
> as web technology improved, IA and IxD would become nearly
> indistinguishable, which is close to where we are now.
>
> So what of SxD? Well, I have to admit that, like Juan, I am
> skeptical of
> most of the differences you seek to draw. The methods and principles
> of IxD
> discussed in About Face and other volumes hold up, I believe, quite
> well in
> social software contexts, assuming that you understand the user
> behaviors
> and motivations. The challenges of identifying user behavior patterns
> (personas) for consumer social networking applications are the same
> as those
> for any consumer software: behavior is dictated by lifestlye
> choices, which
> can be difficult to nail down compared to enterprise applications,
> where
> business roles are usually well-defined and user behaviors have a
> relatively
> close mapping to them.
>
> That said, your observations about Facebook behavior patterns are
> quite
> interesting, and highlight something that may be unique about social
> networking applications: significant usage patterns may perhaps be
> described
> almost mathematically by the relationships between nodes in the
> network.
> Clay Shirky described this for blogs years ago in this article:
>
> http://shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html
>
> His observation is basically that connections in the network
> determine blog
> site "behavior" and influence in the blogosphere. When blogs attract
> large
> numbers of incoming links, the nature of those blogs tends to change
> to that
> of a broadcast medium. Blogs with low numbers of incoming links
> remain more
> conversational.
>
> I think this basic idea can be generalized to all social networks:
> there
> seem to be 3 basic states for a node in a social network as defined
> by its
> connectivity: it can have many more incoming connections than
> outgoing, many
> more outgoing than incoming, or roughly equal incoming and outgoing
> connections. In addition, there is a continuum of total connections,
> from
> few to many. Applying this to your Facebook example, your self-
> oriented
> users would have more incoming connections (viewers) than outgoing.
> Your
> other-oriented would have the reverse; they would primarily be
> viewing/touching other nodes. Your relation-oriented would have
> roughly
> equally interactions with others. I think that the differences in
> connection
> volumes may be another interesting dimension for you to explore
> there in
> term of behaviors and motivations. To me this is all fascinating
> because of
> the possibility of intuiting a set of behavior patterns from what
> amounts to
> a mathematical model, which is obviously not a typical approach to
> persona
> creation. Of course, while it may describe WHAT people are doing, it
> doesn't
> detail WHY, which is where qualitiative user research and more typical
> persona development would come into the picture.
>
> So, my conclusion? Social networks are interesting because some of the
> behavior of the system is dependent on the topology of the network.
> That is
> certainly a difference from unitary application design, but is it
> enough to
> call SxD its own field? I'm not certain, but I don't think so. But
> it is at
> the very least an area of IxD that is ripe for exploration.
>
> Robert.
>
> Robert Reimann
> IxDA Seattle
>
> Associate Creative Director
> frog design
> Seattle, WA
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 5:22 PM, adrian chan <adrian at gravity7.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Folks,
>>
>> It's been a long while since I posted here, but wanted to solicit
>> feedback
>> on this brief intro to Social Interaction Design (design for social
>> media)
>>
>>
>> http://www.gravity7.com/blog/media/2008/10/social-interaction-design-primer.html
>>
>> It's a short piece on how social interaction design differs from
>> conventional UI and user experience design, and in it I attempt an
>> overview
>> of the three kinds of user and three modes of the social interface.
>>
>> All feedback welcome -- in comments or here!
>>
>> thanks!
>>
>>
>> adrian chan
>>
>> 415 516 4442
>> Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
>> Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
>> LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

cheers,

adrian chan

415 516 4442
Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)

16 Oct 2008 - 5:57pm
Ian Chan
2005

Juan,

Thanks for your comments! you went through that post pretty
thoroughly ;-) I know my posts are densely tangled thickets of prose.
It's how I write them, and once written I'm a totally undisciplined
editor. So, my apologies for my style.

On your third point about user goals, I hear you, but at risk of
splitting hairs, I still don't think that "goals" are the right
terminology. Yes, communicating may be a goal, but it's a) too broad;
b) not really what the user thinks s/he is doing and c) doesn't
explain user actions. At least, not according to the psychological
disciplines I know of.

For example, a user may want to share a tune, invite friends to an
event, wish somebody happy birthday, or tweet that they're standing in
line for a burrito. All of these may meet the goal of "communicating"
but each is a different linguistic statement, has a different appeal
to its recipient or audience, and is likely intended for a different
purpose.

--sharing a tune is communicating, but is the motivation could be the
user's enthusiasm and liking for a song, or interest in sharing a
discovery with friends. Linguistically, the statement appeals for
*acceptance* and *agreement.*

--inviting friends to an event is communicating, but the motivation
may be to get friends to an event, to promote the event, to raise the
user's "social capital" by being first to find and distribute an
event. Linguistically, the statement appeals for *acknowledgment*

--wishing somebody a happy birthday may be simply motivated by
friendship, or may be self-interested and intended to publicize the
user's association with the birthday boy or girl (as in some fbook
wall birthday greetings). Linguistically, the statement is gestural
and ceremonial, and appeals for *recognition* and possibly *reciprocity*

--tweeting a banality is communicating, but the motivation may be to
simply say "i'm here, that's all." Linguistically, the statement makes
no appeal to a response of any kind, (there's no accepting or
rejecting a statement of subjective experience like that) other than
possibly acknowledment of the user's presence (the right response
would be "hey, howsit going" and not "what kind of burrito?")

So goals are too broad. Linguistic goals include declarations,
requests, commands, instructions, and so on. Psycho-social goals can
include declaring one's presence, looking for acknowledgment, getting
attention, soliciting affection, and so on.

I think all of these are at play in social media interactions, and
thus I think we need a language or framework for user acts and for
social actions (which are individual acts organized into practices) --
the goals behind these may be proximate, tactical, and immediate, or
meta and strategic. And so on..

On point 3 lost count, I'm pleased that it resonated. There's a bit of
resonance too with meyers brigg, especially extrovert/introvert and
feeling/thinking as binaries of personality types. But meyers brigg
doesnt deal with mediated interaction, and that's why I have the three
part view of the screen. There's no way of avoiding the screen -- all
media theory is based on the insight that mediation brackets some
sense perception, and amplifies others. (phones = ear; tv = eyes)...
So I needed a model that could account for the user experience with
him/herself, mediated by the interface, and experience of others,
mediated by the interface. All mediated social interaction is
indirect, non face-to-face, and thus is not explained by social
theories of situated encounters. i also think that in any medium used
for interaction, use and use practices will contend with the aspects
of interaction that are bracketed out or distorted by the medium.
(e.g. when calling by cel phone we used to ask "where are you?"
because of mobility)

On point 4, you got me. I bailed out on the ending. I like writing the
first and middle bits the most, the wrap up the least.

That company whose name starts with a G.. is that a small g or a
capital G? ;-) I'm freelance myself so if you run into anything
interesting ping me!

cheers,
adrian

On Oct 14, 2008, at 8:03 PM, Juan Lanus wrote:

> comments ...
>
> 1- [all] No subtitles, no bullets, no way to preview what cones next
> in the online permanent state of decision on if I keep reading or
> not. Or at least try to make the paragraps of noticeably different
> sizes ... :-)
>
> 2- [para #2] "In fact our industry, perhaps more than any other,
> relies on delivering compelling user experiences for its success."
> Well, IMO all industries do: car makers, dress makers, book editors,
> sausage sellers, musicians (hmmmm ... Keith Jarrett ...). The only
> one that need not consider the user is the IRS and the likes.
> Our industry is peculiar in that it spent half a century in a state
> of autism, thus "the inmates...". It was not until the internet
> bubble that computer UIs were exposed to untrained ("not specially
> trained") people and flopped en masse, triggering Jake and the
> usability wave.
>
> 3- [para #4] "For example, the conventional user-centric view starts
> with user needs and goals. In social media these are not necessarily
> rational and objective." and the open-endedness of social
> interaction is quite interesting an idea.
> But the "users" do have a goal, there is always a goal, not as
> specific as "transfer money to that account" but maybe
> "communicate". It reminds me of a scenario somebody pictured a while
> ago of the students in a japanese university sitting at the
> cafeteria sending SMS, why don't they talk!?
> Communicating without hhaving to talk might be such goal ...
>
> 3- [lost count...] This seems to me a really useful point of view:
> "Self-interested users act from a position of Self
> Other-interested users react to an Other (user)
> Relationally-interested users interact through social activity"
> In Waldorf schools they say there are three statuses of the human
> person: parasit, egoist, and altruist. I loosely related them to the
> three stances you identified.
>
> 4- [near bottom] "... more innovation of the presentation layer, by
> means of Flash, for example." brings a technology and I would not.
> You take the reader for a flight at filosophical heights and
> recalling a technology you crash her against the ground, a concrete
> ground. The abstraction level descends orders of magnitude in a few
> lines.
> And my take, quality of the UI does not depend that much in the
> tecnology but in the talent of those involved.
>
> Thanks for requesting comments.
>
> One more: I work for a company that does outsourcing. We have both
> normal and big clients, including one whose name starts with a blue
> "G" and is fostering a social media platform .. what's its name ...
> it's in the T-shirt I'm wearing right now: "open social".
> In the company there is much excitement about social networks. But I
> don't see the meat, besides consuming bandwith.
> So I read your primer with lots of interest, in another attempt to
> see the light. It happened, up to a certain amount: thank you.
> --
> Juan Lanus
>
>
>

cheers,

adrian chan

415 516 4442
Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)

16 Oct 2008 - 6:19pm
Robert Reimann
2003

Hi Adrian,

I think we're more in agreement than not. I agree SNA isn't sufficient to
ascertain/describe user behaviors (for the same reasons you state, as I
mentioned in my original reply), but it may provide an interesting way to
begin segmenting behaviors.

I totally agree that social behavior is largely informed by motivations,
subconscious and otherwise. Classic personas *can* capture these
motivations, but you bring up an interesting point: classic Cooper personas
identify 3 types of goals: End goals, that describe user expectations around
direct outcomes of using a product, experience goals, which describe user
expectations around the act of using the product, and life goals, which
describe broader motivations that may inform user behaviors regarding a
product (Note BTW that standard persona goals are often not consciously
considered by the users who have them; there is a large psychological
component to persona goals of all designations.)

Your valid point is that interpersonal concerns -- which are key to social
interaction -- do not neatly fit into this structure. One could in a stretch
lump them into experience goals by considering the interaction with humans
an epiphenomenon of interacting with a social application, but that seems
like an inversion of priority.

Perhaps social applications require personas to incorporate a discrete set
of *interpersonal *or* social * *goals*, which describe user expectations
and concerns in mediated interaction with other humans, to inform design.
It's an interesting idea... even if it perhaps isn't sufficient to address
the complete issue. There's obviously a body of social research and user
observation that could be brought to bear in defining those social goals in
context.

Robert.

Robert Reimann
IxDA Seattle

Associate Creative Director
frog design
Seattle, WA

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 3:32 PM, adrian chan <adrian at gravity7.com> wrote:

> Robert,
> Thanks for your engaging response. I see SxD as a subspecies of, but not
> identical to IxD. Simply because the interaction is user : software : user
> (not user : software). There are two or more subjects involved, not one, and
> this sets up the necessity (theoretically) for a paradigm based on human
> communication and social interaction, not human - machine interaction. In
> the latter, there is one dimension of contingency in "meaning," that is the
> individual user's intention, motive, and resulting behavior. But in mediated
> social interaction, there is a double contingency (this term is straight out
> of linguistics), which is to say that the subject can anticipate the other
> subject's interpretation to his/her acts, and takes these into account.
> There would be no "etiquette" or "social practices," rituals, etc online if
> each of us were not attuned to what's going on and how to behave,
> *socially.*
>
> I have enormous respect for Cooper and for personas, but again, I think
> they're misapplied if used in social media interaction design. i don't think
> user behavior is dictated by lifestyle choices, etc, but by proximate
> communication and interaction motives. Some of these aren't even conscious
> to the user -- such as self-esteem, flirtation, popularity, and so on. Users
> have psychological interests, in themselves, in how they look to others, in
> what they believe others think of them, in others, in an audience at large,
> and so on -- and these transcend lifestyle choices. Users also have moods,
> attitudes, dispositions, and these cannot be accounted for in lifestyle
> preferences for they shift and change, and again, transcend lifestyle.
>
> Personally, I think Clay Shirky is a rockstar and his work and
> presentations are fantastic. But I don't think we can explain behavior by
> social network analysis (SNA). And SNA would be the first to admit that as a
> theory it treats the user (or node) as a black box. One can describe and
> observe social networks by graphing nodes and edges, but the view taken
> explains phenomena as constrained by network relations -- it doesnt describe
> motivations, intentionality, or experience.
>
> To get to experience, speaking strictly theoretically, you have to have a
> theory of consciousness or mind, or "subjectivity" -- that's not treated by
> SNA.
>
> You're absolutely right that connectedness plays a part in the behavior of
> users in social networks. But it's not adequate, in and of itself, to
> describe user experience. We would need to map the tools we can use to
> observe, track, and measure activity (objective model) with a subjective
> framework for the framing and proceeding of mediated interactions.
>
> cheers!
> adrian
>
>
>
>
>
> On Oct 14, 2008, at 9:55 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:
>
> Adrian,
>
> Thanks for your post and link to a thoughtful article.
>
> In some respects, the idea of SxD reminds me of the beginnings of the web,
> when IA was touted as a new field that reflected the unique aspects of
> design for this new medium. But those of us who had been doing IxD before
> the web realized that this was not really the case: designing for the web
> had unique constraints due to available technology: our prediction was that
> as web technology improved, IA and IxD would become nearly
> indistinguishable, which is close to where we are now.
>
> So what of SxD? Well, I have to admit that, like Juan, I am skeptical of
> most of the differences you seek to draw. The methods and principles of IxD
> discussed in About Face and other volumes hold up, I believe, quite well in
> social software contexts, assuming that you understand the user behaviors
> and motivations. The challenges of identifying user behavior patterns
> (personas) for consumer social networking applications are the same as
> those
> for any consumer software: behavior is dictated by lifestlye choices, which
> can be difficult to nail down compared to enterprise applications, where
> business roles are usually well-defined and user behaviors have a
> relatively
> close mapping to them.
>
> That said, your observations about Facebook behavior patterns are quite
> interesting, and highlight something that may be unique about social
> networking applications: significant usage patterns may perhaps be
> described
> almost mathematically by the relationships between nodes in the network.
> Clay Shirky described this for blogs years ago in this article:
>
> http://shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html
>
> His observation is basically that connections in the network determine blog
> site "behavior" and influence in the blogosphere. When blogs attract large
> numbers of incoming links, the nature of those blogs tends to change to
> that
> of a broadcast medium. Blogs with low numbers of incoming links remain more
> conversational.
>
> I think this basic idea can be generalized to all social networks: there
> seem to be 3 basic states for a node in a social network as defined by its
> connectivity: it can have many more incoming connections than outgoing,
> many
> more outgoing than incoming, or roughly equal incoming and outgoing
> connections. In addition, there is a continuum of total connections, from
> few to many. Applying this to your Facebook example, your self-oriented
> users would have more incoming connections (viewers) than outgoing. Your
> other-oriented would have the reverse; they would primarily be
> viewing/touching other nodes. Your relation-oriented would have roughly
> equally interactions with others. I think that the differences in
> connection
> volumes may be another interesting dimension for you to explore there in
> term of behaviors and motivations. To me this is all fascinating because of
> the possibility of intuiting a set of behavior patterns from what amounts
> to
> a mathematical model, which is obviously not a typical approach to persona
> creation. Of course, while it may describe WHAT people are doing, it
> doesn't
> detail WHY, which is where qualitiative user research and more typical
> persona development would come into the picture.
>
> So, my conclusion? Social networks are interesting because some of the
> behavior of the system is dependent on the topology of the network. That is
> certainly a difference from unitary application design, but is it enough to
> call SxD its own field? I'm not certain, but I don't think so. But it is at
> the very least an area of IxD that is ripe for exploration.
>
> Robert.
>
> Robert Reimann
> IxDA Seattle
>
> Associate Creative Director
> frog design
> Seattle, WA
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 5:22 PM, adrian chan <adrian at gravity7.com> wrote:
>
> Folks,
>
>
> It's been a long while since I posted here, but wanted to solicit feedback
>
> on this brief intro to Social Interaction Design (design for social media)
>
>
>
>
> http://www.gravity7.com/blog/media/2008/10/social-interaction-design-primer.html
>
>
> It's a short piece on how social interaction design differs from
>
> conventional UI and user experience design, and in it I attempt an overview
>
> of the three kinds of user and three modes of the social interface.
>
>
> All feedback welcome -- in comments or here!
>
>
> thanks!
>
>
>
> adrian chan
>
>
> 415 516 4442
>
> Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
>
> Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
>
> LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
>
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>
>
> cheers,
>
> adrian chan
>
> 415 516 4442
> Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
> Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
> LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan <http://www.SNCR.org/>)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

16 Oct 2008 - 6:25pm
DampeS8N
2008

IxD is, in broader terms, the real philosophical center of how
interaction should be seen. Digital, non-digital, and reaching back
to the dawn on man, and perhaps before.

Much of IxD is focused on computers, because it is through computers
that we really began to notice our own non-sense way of interacting
with each other. With anything, really.

So it can be said that many things are a sub-set of IxD:
Architecture, Space Planning, Graphic Design, Industrial Design,
Business Organization, Chain-o-command, Carpentry.

IxD is a blanket philosophy, really. A method to create ANY system
for ANY group that helps them achieve ANY goal.

The fact that IxD came about as a way to create software betrays the
really fundamental understanding that the forefathers of IxD were
able to tap into and articulate.

However, IxD ALSO means the software design branch that broke off of
User Interface Design. And this double meaning, or double
understanding of its principals makes arguments like this one
somewhat moot.

If we recognized a new flavor of IxD with its own unique traits, we
would be stove-piping IxD even more. Restricting it from all
software, down to a single kind of app.

Where does it stop? Word Processor IxDs - WPxDs? Spread Sheet -
SPxDs?

I find the idea that IxD relates only to software and
software-enabled devices to be too constricting. In the future, when
these things begin to merge, this kind of thought will be the box we
can't think outside of.

It is why people think brain interfaces will fly text in front of
your vision when you think "Search for directions to nearest good
pizza place."

When the real ideal would simply be recalling where the nearest good
pizza place is as though you've been there. Where that thought
process triggers the search and makes the information available to
you using the same chained recollection system your brain already
uses.

I know that seems a bit out there, but this merge of meat and
technology is in our future, and is worth thinking about now.

Rather than trying to further compartmentalize our interaction design
oeuvres.

Don't forget, the world wide web hasn't existed even 20 years, and
it has already moved through 3 paradigm shifts. (is moving through
the 3rd) It will only become faster, and more powerful. And more
pervasive. And more ubiquitous.

In 20 more years, what I talked about a moment ago that seemed like
science fiction might be considered obsolete and infantile. Or it
might never come at all, in favor of something much more remarkable.

Can you say there is value in defining a new kind of IxD for a format
that might not exist at all in 5 years? For an app flavor that exists
on a paradigm that itself might not be used at all in 5 years?

No, IxD needs to be more forward thinking than that or we will die
out. We can't restrain ourselves into this little electronic box,
let alone the internet, let alone still the world wide web, and
certainly not one flavor of application that is popular on it right
now.

Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34303

16 Oct 2008 - 11:41pm
Ian Chan
2005

Robert,

I owe you a more detailed response, and will get to it tomorrow. But
wanted to say that I have a set of personality types for social media
as a substitute for personas. I've not done a presentation yet on
them, but was thinking of them when I posted a couple slide shows over
the past year. They're built on both psychological insights as well as
an extension of the sociological concept of "competencies." User
competencies in social media, I think, manifest deeper psychology. It
was easier to discuss competencies than to tease out the personality
types, so I did competencies first. They are action and activity
based, and totally user-centric. Competencies are described in terms
of user interaction styles, preferences, and habits.

You can find them on slideshare here:

http://www.slideshare.net/gravity7

Or download them from my site:

http://gravity7.com/slides.html

cheers!

adrian chan

415 516 4442
Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)

On Oct 16, 2008, at 4:19 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:

> Hi Adrian,
>
> I think we're more in agreement than not. I agree SNA isn't
> sufficient to
> ascertain/describe user behaviors (for the same reasons you state,
> as I
> mentioned in my original reply), but it may provide an interesting
> way to
> begin segmenting behaviors.
>
> I totally agree that social behavior is largely informed by
> motivations,
> subconscious and otherwise. Classic personas *can* capture these
> motivations, but you bring up an interesting point: classic Cooper
> personas
> identify 3 types of goals: End goals, that describe user
> expectations around
> direct outcomes of using a product, experience goals, which describe
> user
> expectations around the act of using the product, and life goals,
> which
> describe broader motivations that may inform user behaviors
> regarding a
> product (Note BTW that standard persona goals are often not
> consciously
> considered by the users who have them; there is a large psychological
> component to persona goals of all designations.)
>
> Your valid point is that interpersonal concerns -- which are key to
> social
> interaction -- do not neatly fit into this structure. One could in a
> stretch
> lump them into experience goals by considering the interaction with
> humans
> an epiphenomenon of interacting with a social application, but that
> seems
> like an inversion of priority.
>
> Perhaps social applications require personas to incorporate a
> discrete set
> of *interpersonal *or* social * *goals*, which describe user
> expectations
> and concerns in mediated interaction with other humans, to inform
> design.
> It's an interesting idea... even if it perhaps isn't sufficient to
> address
> the complete issue. There's obviously a body of social research and
> user
> observation that could be brought to bear in defining those social
> goals in
> context.
>
> Robert.
>
> Robert Reimann
> IxDA Seattle
>
> Associate Creative Director
> frog design
> Seattle, WA
>
>
> On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 3:32 PM, adrian chan <adrian at gravity7.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Robert,
>> Thanks for your engaging response. I see SxD as a subspecies of,
>> but not
>> identical to IxD. Simply because the interaction is user :
>> software : user
>> (not user : software). There are two or more subjects involved, not
>> one, and
>> this sets up the necessity (theoretically) for a paradigm based on
>> human
>> communication and social interaction, not human - machine
>> interaction. In
>> the latter, there is one dimension of contingency in "meaning,"
>> that is the
>> individual user's intention, motive, and resulting behavior. But in
>> mediated
>> social interaction, there is a double contingency (this term is
>> straight out
>> of linguistics), which is to say that the subject can anticipate
>> the other
>> subject's interpretation to his/her acts, and takes these into
>> account.
>> There would be no "etiquette" or "social practices," rituals, etc
>> online if
>> each of us were not attuned to what's going on and how to behave,
>> *socially.*
>>
>> I have enormous respect for Cooper and for personas, but again, I
>> think
>> they're misapplied if used in social media interaction design. i
>> don't think
>> user behavior is dictated by lifestyle choices, etc, but by proximate
>> communication and interaction motives. Some of these aren't even
>> conscious
>> to the user -- such as self-esteem, flirtation, popularity, and so
>> on. Users
>> have psychological interests, in themselves, in how they look to
>> others, in
>> what they believe others think of them, in others, in an audience
>> at large,
>> and so on -- and these transcend lifestyle choices. Users also have
>> moods,
>> attitudes, dispositions, and these cannot be accounted for in
>> lifestyle
>> preferences for they shift and change, and again, transcend
>> lifestyle.
>>
>> Personally, I think Clay Shirky is a rockstar and his work and
>> presentations are fantastic. But I don't think we can explain
>> behavior by
>> social network analysis (SNA). And SNA would be the first to admit
>> that as a
>> theory it treats the user (or node) as a black box. One can
>> describe and
>> observe social networks by graphing nodes and edges, but the view
>> taken
>> explains phenomena as constrained by network relations -- it doesnt
>> describe
>> motivations, intentionality, or experience.
>>
>> To get to experience, speaking strictly theoretically, you have to
>> have a
>> theory of consciousness or mind, or "subjectivity" -- that's not
>> treated by
>> SNA.
>>
>> You're absolutely right that connectedness plays a part in the
>> behavior of
>> users in social networks. But it's not adequate, in and of itself, to
>> describe user experience. We would need to map the tools we can use
>> to
>> observe, track, and measure activity (objective model) with a
>> subjective
>> framework for the framing and proceeding of mediated interactions.
>>
>> cheers!
>> adrian
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Oct 14, 2008, at 9:55 PM, Robert Reimann wrote:
>>
>> Adrian,
>>
>> Thanks for your post and link to a thoughtful article.
>>
>> In some respects, the idea of SxD reminds me of the beginnings of
>> the web,
>> when IA was touted as a new field that reflected the unique aspects
>> of
>> design for this new medium. But those of us who had been doing IxD
>> before
>> the web realized that this was not really the case: designing for
>> the web
>> had unique constraints due to available technology: our prediction
>> was that
>> as web technology improved, IA and IxD would become nearly
>> indistinguishable, which is close to where we are now.
>>
>> So what of SxD? Well, I have to admit that, like Juan, I am
>> skeptical of
>> most of the differences you seek to draw. The methods and
>> principles of IxD
>> discussed in About Face and other volumes hold up, I believe, quite
>> well in
>> social software contexts, assuming that you understand the user
>> behaviors
>> and motivations. The challenges of identifying user behavior patterns
>> (personas) for consumer social networking applications are the same
>> as
>> those
>> for any consumer software: behavior is dictated by lifestlye
>> choices, which
>> can be difficult to nail down compared to enterprise applications,
>> where
>> business roles are usually well-defined and user behaviors have a
>> relatively
>> close mapping to them.
>>
>> That said, your observations about Facebook behavior patterns are
>> quite
>> interesting, and highlight something that may be unique about social
>> networking applications: significant usage patterns may perhaps be
>> described
>> almost mathematically by the relationships between nodes in the
>> network.
>> Clay Shirky described this for blogs years ago in this article:
>>
>> http://shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html
>>
>> His observation is basically that connections in the network
>> determine blog
>> site "behavior" and influence in the blogosphere. When blogs
>> attract large
>> numbers of incoming links, the nature of those blogs tends to
>> change to
>> that
>> of a broadcast medium. Blogs with low numbers of incoming links
>> remain more
>> conversational.
>>
>> I think this basic idea can be generalized to all social networks:
>> there
>> seem to be 3 basic states for a node in a social network as defined
>> by its
>> connectivity: it can have many more incoming connections than
>> outgoing,
>> many
>> more outgoing than incoming, or roughly equal incoming and outgoing
>> connections. In addition, there is a continuum of total
>> connections, from
>> few to many. Applying this to your Facebook example, your self-
>> oriented
>> users would have more incoming connections (viewers) than outgoing.
>> Your
>> other-oriented would have the reverse; they would primarily be
>> viewing/touching other nodes. Your relation-oriented would have
>> roughly
>> equally interactions with others. I think that the differences in
>> connection
>> volumes may be another interesting dimension for you to explore
>> there in
>> term of behaviors and motivations. To me this is all fascinating
>> because of
>> the possibility of intuiting a set of behavior patterns from what
>> amounts
>> to
>> a mathematical model, which is obviously not a typical approach to
>> persona
>> creation. Of course, while it may describe WHAT people are doing, it
>> doesn't
>> detail WHY, which is where qualitiative user research and more
>> typical
>> persona development would come into the picture.
>>
>> So, my conclusion? Social networks are interesting because some of
>> the
>> behavior of the system is dependent on the topology of the network.
>> That is
>> certainly a difference from unitary application design, but is it
>> enough to
>> call SxD its own field? I'm not certain, but I don't think so. But
>> it is at
>> the very least an area of IxD that is ripe for exploration.
>>
>> Robert.
>>
>> Robert Reimann
>> IxDA Seattle
>>
>> Associate Creative Director
>> frog design
>> Seattle, WA
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 5:22 PM, adrian chan <adrian at gravity7.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Folks,
>>
>>
>> It's been a long while since I posted here, but wanted to solicit
>> feedback
>>
>> on this brief intro to Social Interaction Design (design for social
>> media)
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> http://www.gravity7.com/blog/media/2008/10/social-interaction-design-primer.html
>>
>>
>> It's a short piece on how social interaction design differs from
>>
>> conventional UI and user experience design, and in it I attempt an
>> overview
>>
>> of the three kinds of user and three modes of the social interface.
>>
>>
>> All feedback welcome -- in comments or here!
>>
>>
>> thanks!
>>
>>
>>
>> adrian chan
>>
>>
>> 415 516 4442
>>
>> Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
>>
>> Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
>>
>> LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>>
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>>
>>
>> cheers,
>>
>> adrian chan
>>
>> 415 516 4442
>> Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
>> Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
>> LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan <http://www.SNCR.org/>)
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

20 Oct 2008 - 12:34pm
Ian Chan
2005

William,

interesting thoughts -- I hope you didn't think that I was stumping
for SxD solely to establish a new and unnecessary branch on your
arboreal philosophical core. I dont believe in naming theories just
for heck of it. But nor do I think that IxD is everything, as you
describe it, or that it is even grounded in some kind of basic and
common brain activity...

To me these interactions, mediated or not, are always contextual,
coded, and culturally specific: in a word, constructed.

So to me, there is room for a framework that anticipates the needs of
communicating by web and social apps, tho it's less important whether
it has its own name or not. That said, the emphasis I take in social
interaction design is less the technology and more the social
practices. I like it to the urban architect's awareness of human
traffic flow, say, through a public space. Social web design is akin
to urban architecture: design should account not only for mass,
volume, and light, but for how the architecture permits, structures,
or discourages social interactions, flow, and so on. And these become
recognizable in their own right -- hence the popularity of social web
among cultural commentators, ethnographers, anthropologists.

Or to take another analogy, if two observers study the design
constraints of a large public space, one being an architect and one
being an anthropologist, who provides better insights if the building
is a stadium? If the building is a church?

My point is that one framework doesnt fit all needs equally, and that
the framework ought to not just focus on the design of "technology."
Any more than it would be right to have TV manufacturers design TV
shows. I simply think that a techno-centric or web-centric view of
social media is short sighted, and misses the point of the social
practices that emerge around them.

cheers,
a

On Oct 16, 2008, at 4:25 PM, William Brall wrote:

> IxD is, in broader terms, the real philosophical center of how
> interaction should be seen. Digital, non-digital, and reaching back
> to the dawn on man, and perhaps before.
>
> Much of IxD is focused on computers, because it is through computers
> that we really began to notice our own non-sense way of interacting
> with each other. With anything, really.
>
> So it can be said that many things are a sub-set of IxD:
> Architecture, Space Planning, Graphic Design, Industrial Design,
> Business Organization, Chain-o-command, Carpentry.
>
> IxD is a blanket philosophy, really. A method to create ANY system
> for ANY group that helps them achieve ANY goal.
>
> The fact that IxD came about as a way to create software betrays the
> really fundamental understanding that the forefathers of IxD were
> able to tap into and articulate.
>
> However, IxD ALSO means the software design branch that broke off of
> User Interface Design. And this double meaning, or double
> understanding of its principals makes arguments like this one
> somewhat moot.
>
> If we recognized a new flavor of IxD with its own unique traits, we
> would be stove-piping IxD even more. Restricting it from all
> software, down to a single kind of app.
>
> Where does it stop? Word Processor IxDs - WPxDs? Spread Sheet -
> SPxDs?
>
> I find the idea that IxD relates only to software and
> software-enabled devices to be too constricting. In the future, when
> these things begin to merge, this kind of thought will be the box we
> can't think outside of.
>
> It is why people think brain interfaces will fly text in front of
> your vision when you think "Search for directions to nearest good
> pizza place."
>
> When the real ideal would simply be recalling where the nearest good
> pizza place is as though you've been there. Where that thought
> process triggers the search and makes the information available to
> you using the same chained recollection system your brain already
> uses.
>
> I know that seems a bit out there, but this merge of meat and
> technology is in our future, and is worth thinking about now.
>
> Rather than trying to further compartmentalize our interaction design
> oeuvres.
>
> Don't forget, the world wide web hasn't existed even 20 years, and
> it has already moved through 3 paradigm shifts. (is moving through
> the 3rd) It will only become faster, and more powerful. And more
> pervasive. And more ubiquitous.
>
> In 20 more years, what I talked about a moment ago that seemed like
> science fiction might be considered obsolete and infantile. Or it
> might never come at all, in favor of something much more remarkable.
>
> Can you say there is value in defining a new kind of IxD for a format
> that might not exist at all in 5 years? For an app flavor that exists
> on a paradigm that itself might not be used at all in 5 years?
>
> No, IxD needs to be more forward thinking than that or we will die
> out. We can't restrain ourselves into this little electronic box,
> let alone the internet, let alone still the world wide web, and
> certainly not one flavor of application that is popular on it right
> now.
>
>
> Will
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34303
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

cheers,

adrian chan

415 516 4442
Social Interaction Design (www.gravity7.com)
Sr Fellow, Society for New Communications Research (www.SNCR.org)
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/adrianchan)

20 Oct 2008 - 1:46pm
DampeS8N
2008

I'm not sure there need be frameworks for interaction design
principals at all, but assuming there need be, your example has one
major flaw.

A civic building will exist for /-100 years. Social Media sites as
we know them will not even last 10. Perhaps not even 5.

While there are certainly best practices to follow in social media,
the concept is so new that due diligence has not been performed in
understanding how some of the major idioms within should function.

It is still being played with, and trying to nail down a real list of
best practices, or even a collection of common concepts, is premature.

It seems clear that social sites, social computing, will continue to
grow, but the means in which we interact will change. The web is
already changing to support it, and we'll see almost anything we try
to establish dashed by the year 2015. Or even 2010.

As social data becomes more ubiquitous, we'll see it's robotic
entry disappear, and that alone will free most social sites from
having to provide profile editing, they will be services, like
iGoogle widgets.

Or they will be even more decentralized than that.

And under those conditions, most or all of what we try to establish
as guidelines for the current state will be moot.

Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34303

23 Oct 2008 - 4:31pm
milan
2005

Just a quick note on that: when it comes to online social interaction,
I'd like to recommend this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Community-Derek-Powazek/dp/0735710759

It's old, SxD is called "online community design" in there, and
(of course) no mention of web 2.0 - but the "design principles for
"connecting real people in virtual places" are still valid and very
applicable to social interactions.

--milan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34303

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