If the phrase "planned community" makes you think of terrible homogenous suburbs, take another look at the Internet. Though there are unplanned aspects and emergent behaviours, for the most part every detail has been designed by someone who thought they knew what they were doing. Can we do better? Human-computer interactions expert Jenny Preece takes apart our preconceptions and suggests new ways to improve our virtual realities in Online Communities: Designing Usability and Supporting Sociability
. Part sociological review, part design manual, the book is dry enough to appeal to techies and academics while still humanistic enough to touch the organisers and activists who will put her ideas further into action.
Beginning with basic concepts of community and online activities, Preece moves on to survey research on the use of virtual spaces and then focuses on techniques to design and build optimal cybervillages for given needs and people. Using plenty of examples and case studies from actual Web sites and other electronic communities, she sheds light on tools that work to make them sustainable. Whether the current generation of e-planners will heed her words--and whether they can create something liveable out of the weird suburb/wilderness hybrid we have now--will be key to determining how 21st-century humans live, work and communicate. --Rob Lightner
"provides a good balance between theory and practise" (Software Focus, December 2001)
"I like the slightly zany drawings" "People will say Iwish I′d had this book before now"." (Computer &Education, No. 36, 2001)
" an excellent book my best recommendations "(Jnl of Computing and Information Technology, March 2003)
"provides a good balance between theory and practise"
(Software Focus, December 2001)
"I like the slightly zany drawings"
"People will say I wish I′d had this book before now"."
(Computer & Education, No. 36, 2001)
" an excellent book my bestrecommendations " (Jnl of Computing and InformationTechnology, March 2003)