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Design for Community Paperback – 9 Aug 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (9 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735710759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735710757
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,337,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Communities are part of all successful web sites in one way or another. It looks at the different stages that must be understood- Philosophy- Why does your site need community? What are your measures of success? Architecture- How do you set up a site to createpositive experience? How do you coax people out of their shells and get them to share their experiences online? Design- From color choice to HTML, how do you design the look of a community area? Maintenance- This section will contain stories of failed web communities, and what they could have done to stay on track, as well as general maintenance tips and tricks for keeping your community “garden” growing.

About the Author

Derek Powazek has been working the web since there was one. He¿s watched communities grow while working at HotWired and Electric Minds with virtual community pioneer Howard Rheingold. As Powazek Productions, he¿s created sites with community features for companies like Netscape and Nike. He¿s been tending the garden at the {fray} for four years, and his work has been honored by I.D. Magazine, Communication Arts Magazine, and Cool Site of the Year. Derek¿s work has been applauded in countless web design books, including Graphis Web Design Now, and O¿Reilly¿s Web Navigation book. He¿s also been profiled in Wired News, and has spoken about web design and community all over the country. This year in September, hundreds will gather for fray day 4, a real-life gathering of the fray.com virtual community.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tom Coates VINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
I've read most of the New Riders series of books, and they vary in usefulness - as you would expect - depending on whether you are the target market. Jeff Zeldman's book was pretty much useless for me - although it was a good read I knew most of the stuff in it. Jeff Veen's stuff was interesting mainly because it pointed to a completely different future approach to writing books of this kind - start with CSS and wander off from there.
Of them all, so far I'm most impressed with Derek's book. Those of us who have spent time on his sites... know how passionate and committed he is to online community building and how he has managed to generate several profoundly cool community-centred sites. He's not a web programmer - and nor is this a book for web programmers - and that just goes to show that the issues that will confront you are not necessary ones of software and content management.
I've been building community sites for a few years too - not as successfully, perhaps - but I know roughly what I'm talking about, and what I can say for certain is that I learned more about some of the less obvious elements of the subject directly from Derek's book.
Things that hadn't occurred to me before included (among many others)
1) That making it harder to post, and burying submit buttons encourages fewer, but better posts.
2) That the colour and feel of a site may determine its attitude, which may in turn be reflected in the kind of posts and community that emerges there.
3) That communities sometimes will and sometimes SHOULD die after a while.
This is not necessarily the book for someone looking to start out on their first community venture - but it is CERTAINLY the kind of book that you should be reading if you've started one already - albeit small and faltering - and you want to understand ways in which you could broaden it, expand it, refine it, make it work TREMENDOUSLY well...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frank Carver VINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book crops up a lot in recommendations from bloggers, and it's easy to see why. This book is a broad, yet detailed, treatment of how to start, grow, and manage, online communities. A successful online community (such as the thriving javaranch.com) has a real and valuable sense of belonging. This book can help you understand both the 'why' and the 'how'.
Most of the points made in this book are applicable to everything from email lists, through bulletin boards, to blogs, Amazon reviews and beyond. Many are also very thoughtful, such as the discussion of setting "barriers to entry", or the tricky subject of how to gracefully end a community. The book also includes some interviews with people involved in specific online communities. These interviews are not as directly useful as the rest of the book, but are an interesting alternative to the author's style.
If you are at all interested in gathering or supporting a group of real people using online tools, you need this book. It doesn't say much about specific tools or technologies, but it has the ever-elusive quality of "lasting value". I can really imagine myself re-reading and referring to this book in five or even ten years time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
Whilst the title specifies design the book goes far beyond this, covering issues spanning a communities lifetime.
Top-level design aspects are covered, with information on usability, seamless integration of content and community features, and techniques for differentiating host contributions from other community members but if you want code detail you'll need to seek out one of the communities referenced. Greatest depth is provided when the book looks at the daily ins and outs of community production - how to host and develop a community, encouraging good contributions, policing and moderation.
Most useful though, are the many community examples, URLs included, of successes and failures, with each chapter ending with an interview from an experienced community figure on the appropriate topic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Guru of Gab 14 Sept. 2001
By Andrew B. King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Heard this lately from your boss? "Hey, let's add some community to our site. Our traffic will explode!" or "Let's make a blog, how hard can it be?" The Web is by its very nature interactive, so one-way broadcasts are out, communities are in. Community add-ons and sites are all the rage, but how do you do it right? Derek Powazek's book shows you how.
This book is not a technology book on the intricacies of blogger or Manila. The focus is on the design and moderation issues that arise when you add community features to your site. You'll learn what works and what doesn't when building and running virtual communities on the Web.
The author should know. Derek Powazek, a journalist by training, has helped build many pioneering virtual communities for HotWired, Electric Minds, Vivid Studios, Netscape, and his own fray.com and kvetch.com (love that site). He writes with wit and wisdom on what works on the Web when creating and running thriving online communities.
Each chapter focuses on a specific issue of community building on the Web, from moderation to intimacy to using email. Each chapter ends with New Riders' signature interview with an expert in that particular area. They include:
Matt Haughey (metafilter.com), Steven Johnson (plastic.com), Rob Malda (slashdot.org), John Styn (CitizenX.com), Matt Williams (Amazon.com), and Howard Rheingold (rheingold.com).
One of the things I learned is that in some cases it's a good idea to "bury the post button." By making users read through your entire article, and *then* supplying the "post your response" button at the end, you automatically filter out all but the most interested readers. Your discussions will stay on topic and have higher signal-to-noise ratios.
Powazek says: "Web communities happen when users are given tools to use their voice in a public and immediate way, form intimate relationships over time." He goes so far as to say that sites without community-related features are doomed. "Any Internet technology that does not allow for its users to communicate directly with each other is doomed to failure."
After reading this book, you'll feel like you've designed a community already, and your next one will be better for it. Recommended. From WebReference.com.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Need-to-know information for community builders 1 Feb. 2002
By Jonathan Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm in the process of retooling an online community myself, and Design for Community has given me a lot to think about. It's extremely useful. No one should try to build an online community without reading this book first.
While it is not difficult to find the software tools required to build an online community, experience and insight is harder to come by. Powazek draws examples from his own work and interviews some of the leading lights of online communities to show what has worked, what doesn't, and what you should look out for.
This book invites its readers to ask themselves some questions about the online communities they want to build. Why do you want to build it? What are you trying to accomplish? What relationship do you want to have with your visitors? And how do you plan to keep order, maintain decorum, and enforce the community's rules? These are questions, I'm afraid, that many webmasters and site owners have simply never asked themselves, and boy does it ever show.
Case in point: In my very, very small corner of the web, just about everybody with a small home-based business and a two-bit web site wants to set up a mailing list or discussion board to go along with it. They don't appear to have done much thinking about it, apart from a vague notion that a forum would be cool and would draw traffic to their site. In fact, the biggest site/portal in the subculture I inhabit sells itself by saying that its discussion forums draw traffic to the hobbyist/small-business home pages it hosts and the advertising it sells -- i.e., its forums are its content. Meanwhile, the quality and tone of discussion on those forums is a constant source of grief. These people need to read this book.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
How to design a site where people will want to hang out 17 Oct. 2001
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Amidst all the ruble concerning the Internet as a destroyer of lives and just another pointless addiction, there is one jewel concerning its' role in bringing people together. Amidst all the senseless conversations and other garbage of people whose lives seem to be pointless, groups are getting together to share experiences, both of sorrows and joy. Some of the most interesting sites that have appeared are those that are formed around a bond of shared experiences. They are commonly referred to as community sites, where people hang out to find support and solace and the most effective ways to start and maintain such sites is the topic of this book.
Such sites are needed, but tend to burn out the moderators very quickly. The sites tend to provide a degree of anonymity that some people need if they are to expose their emotions to others. With so many challenges to overcome, it is clear that most people who create them do so out of a personal passion or commitment rather than a desire for glory. When reading this book, I found myself emotionally moved, a rare experience for one who reads computing books as a profession. The tales of woe and joy are simultaneously uplifting and depressing.
All emotions aside, this is the book you must read if you are considering the creation of a site designed to allow people to hang out and talk. By reading the related experiences of others, you will learn the best ways to develop such sites. They certainly are needed, as the breakdown of physical communities has led many to search out an alternate in the cyber realm. People still need people, whether they be physically or virtually nearby.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent PRACTICAL guide to building online communities 3 Mar. 2002
By ian j dickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My review of this book is simple - it tells you everything you need to know to build and run an online community, in plain language, without irrelevent academic theories.
If you only buy one book, buy this one.
I have been involved with online communities for a while, and because I have been unhappy with their limited functionality, have been creating next generation software for them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good introduction to online community building 28 Jan. 2002
By Richard Panganiban - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a moderator for a 2,000+ community of swing dance enthusiasts (yehoodi.com), I was interested in Powazek's recommendations related to design and community-building online. I found some of the content a bit pedantic and simplistic, but I think this book would be an excellent introduction to someone thinking about starting an online-community.
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