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Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience Paperback – 8 Oct 2009


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About the Author

Christian Crumlish is the curator of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library and has been designing and writing about online user experiences since 1994. He is a director of the Information Architecture Institute and co-chair of the monthly BayCHI program.

He is the author of The Power of Many and is writing a book called Designing Social Interfaces for O'Reilly Media with Erin Malone. He studied philosophy at Princeton and painting at the San Francisco School of Art, and lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, Briggs, and his cat, Fraidy.

Erin Malone is Principal with Tangible UX, and has over 20 years of experience leading design teams and developing social experiences as well as web and software applications and system-wide solutions. Prior to Tangible, she spent 4 years at Yahoo! leading the Platform User Experience Design team where they were responsible for building the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library and for providing design expertise to the popular YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library). Additionally, Erin led the redesign of the Yahoo! Developer Network, oversaw the redesign of Yahoo!'s registration system, developed the ux team's intranet and worked on other cross-company initiatives.

Before Yahoo!, she was a Design Director at AOL, Creative Director at AltaVista, and chief Information Architect for Zip2. Erin was the founding editor-in-chief of Boxes and Arrows and is the author of several articles on interaction design history, design management, and is a founding member of the IA Institute. She is currently working on the book Designing Social Interfaces with Christian Crumlish for O'Reilly Media.


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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Groundbreaking and essential 1 Dec 2009
By Andrew Hinton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Malone and Crumlish have done the user-experience design community an amazing service with this volume. It does the hard, rigorous work that most of us simply do not have time or dedication to do -- creating the first solid set of building blocks for designing socially driven digital platforms.
The book goes beyond the easy categories of things like "blogs & wikis" and breaks those and other compounds down into their essential elements, helping us make more informed and less platform-dependent decisions.
Design patterns are always challenging to produce, especially since designers inevitably nit-pick them to death. But these patterns are up to the challenge: they actually make sense, and I suspect will stand up handsomely to the persnickety-designer test. But even if you differ with some of their particulars, it's incredibly valuable to have the heavy lifting already done, so all you have to do is react, refine and "improve" for your own use.
More than a mere collection of patterns, the book doles out large helpings of hard-won wisdom from the authors and other veterans of the industry who have wrestled with the volatile, emergent nature of socially driven digital design.
If you're doing anything with social design, from being asked to create a corporate blog to enhancing the way employees share knowledge on your intranet, do yourself a favor and get familiar with Designing Social Interfaces.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you write user interface copy for social apps, use this book 10 Feb 2010
By Cate de Heer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Designing Social Interfaces is an impressive compilation of knowledge about what makes social media applications work. It covers the entire range of what you need to think about if you're designing a UI for a social app, from high-level "Why do this?" to screen-by-screen advice on words to put on your site -- or not. It's a kind of soup-to-nuts checklist for anyone involved in designing social media, a guide to doing it right at every level.

Of particular interest to UI writers (or anyone else with the job of deciding what words will appear in a social app's UI) are some of the patterns in Chapter 2, for example using "your" versus "my" (the choice "can reinforce either a social or a solipsistic state of mind"), how to label blank spaces for users to fill in (answer: with a question), and how to "talk like a person!" (use a conversational tone). But the book is peppered throughout with other patterns of functionality that have implications for text in a UI, such as these:

* Welcome area
* Sign-up or registration
* Social search (i.e., search on user-contributed tags)
* Forums: creating and facilitating discussion
* Collaborative editing
* Saving an item for later viewing, sharing, or discussion
* Terms of service and licenses
* Reminders

Authors Crumlish and Malone, respectively the curator and founder of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library, have saved the rest of us lots and lots of time by compiling this important guide. If you write copy for a social UI, don't reinvent the wheel -- use this book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Exhaustive, excellent 2 Dec 2009
By Aspi Havewala - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a fairly exhaustive catalog of most UI patterns in place today with sites that integrate social networking. There are some very interesting discussions about each pattern, when to use it and who uses it.

This book really shines when it breaks out to discuss the CONS of a pattern. Although this isn't done for all patterns - and I wish it was - it remains very insightful ways to learn more about a pattern.

If you are an alpha user of social networking, then you'll recognize most of these patterns and this book will help you catalog them and reference them when necessary. If you are not an alpha user, then the book serves as an education first.

Really well written - easy to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Encyclopedic reference of social design patterns 12 Jan 2010
By Graham Lawlor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great reference for social design patterns. It covers patterns from all sorts of "social" sites from commenting systems, to virtual prizes/badges, to whether you should describe pages to users as "my dashboard" vs "your dashboard". Crumlish and Malone have obviously had direct experience with all these patterns and give great descriptions of the when's, how's and why's/why not's. A very worthwhile reference.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Essential for Innovation Portal 20 Jan 2011
By Mark Waldo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a digital strategist laying out a website to be used by 22,000 employees to support collaborative ideation. This book has been an essential reference; helping me to break down the project into sensible sub-projects and offering a robust list of patterns to consider. I have also found the contributions by outside authors to be very interesting and the overall writing style superb.
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