All items by Alex Bowyer

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Many rooms

In my office, I know what everyone else is doing, without them telling me. I’m not spying on them; it’s a side effect of our shared hard drive. Whenever my co-workers create or update a file, I get notified. What’s more, I can then click the message and view the file, which is already saved on my laptop.

We use Dropbox, a clever product that effortlessly synchronizes and backs up our files. We’ve discovered it does a lot more than this though; it gives us an ambient awareness of each other’s work, and it makes us more effective because we no longer have to think about versions, file locations or lost data.

Ambient awareness

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Design Patterns for Social Experience

Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone explain Social Experience Design PatternsAt IDEA2009, Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone, authors of the forthcoming book “Designing Social Interfaces”, gave an overview of some key steps and design patterns that can be used when creating social software or sites.

Christian started by reiterating that social experience design is about the interaction between people rather than the interface between the human and the computer – and that while you can fairly well control one person’s experience with a system, you cannot predict or control how people will choose to interact with each other.

As such, when you design a social experience, all you can really do is provide a framework. You can set the basic rules and capabilities, but the participants will finish the design for you.

Five steps of social experience design

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Bare Naked (Open Source) Design

Leisa Reichelt talks about D7UX at IDEA2009
Today Leisa Reichelt gave a presentation to IDEA2009 on her experiences running the Drupal 7 user experience project. She shared insights she had learned about how to design in an open way with a highly distributed team, such as using video missives such as the “We Need You” video to communicate with developers.

One of the biggest challenges she said she faced was that the project was designed by developers with other developers in mind, even though there were two key groups of users that were alienated by the product. They could not engage with strategy statements or goal descriptions.
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The Impact of Social Models

Luke Wroblewski explains the impact of social models at IDEA2009Today saw the IDEA2009 Social Experience Design Conference kick off in Toronto. Luke Wroblewski, Director of “Product Ideation & Design” at Yahoo, gave the first session, where he presented the results of a number of different pieces of research which showed that the way social interactions and relationships are modeled can have a large effect on the way that people behave online. He also uncovered some interesting facts along the way about which types of social model generate the most active users, and what factors influence user behaviour.

He divided social sites into five types of social model:
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"Denial of Service Attack" by kryptyk on Flickr (CC)Today, social networking was attacked. The two biggest networks, Twitter and Facebook, have been subjected to denial of service attacks, causing difficulty for millions of people around the world. Other sites including FriendFeed, LiveJournal, Posterous and su.pr have also experienced outages or slow response times. Social networking services have failed before, but never all at once.

While the precise causes have yet to be established, it’s clear is that today’s events have had a measurable effect on people across the globe, and the loss of multiple social networks at the same time has highlighted some serious issues and limitations

Disconnect, reconnect

One of the first things that happened is that people flooded to other mediums such as e-mail or instant messaging to discuss what was happening. Read more »

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