Posted on Sep 14, 2008 in Weblog | 2 comments

I just gave my last talk this Sunday morning at the DrupalCampLA conference. The talk brushed on elements that contribute to effective designs for social networking websites. It’s heavily inspired by Joshua Porter’s new book Designing for the Social Web, and includes insight on which Drupal modules help support user participation. I also cover my own personal Drupal case study, P=MD, a social networking site made for my friends; with that experience, I learned that recruiting and retaining users is a huge challenge and requires an additional marketing/publicity mindset (beyond design and development) and I learned that all these modules in Drupal provide amazing functionality but it takes additional effort to make them all work together into a coherent, usable website.

The presentation files are here in PDF form and includes bonus slides on (1) how to promote the sharing of with your website as a viral marketing tool, and (2) what modules can harbor the collective intelligence of your crowds (your site visitors). I can upload a Powerpoint or Keynote file if you e-mail me.

I had a wonderful time speaking and I loved meeting new friends in the audience. I hope I can help out again with DrupalCamp and other Drupal promotions in the future, because this was such a valuable experience for me. :)

Some great resources I brushed upon:

  • Steve Krug’s book Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability – a great crash course on web usability and how to think like a user.
  • Joshua Porter’s book Designing for the Social Web – the ONLY book out that includes "tons of examples from real-world interfaces and a touch of the underlying social psychology theory" for designing social web applications.
  • Excerpt from Joshua Porter’s book: the complete how-to on designing for sign-up.
  • Joshua Porter’s blog, bokardo.com – in particular, read the Usage Lifecycle article
  • Creating Passionate Users blog – headrush.typepad.com

The modules I covered include:

  • Organic Groups — Used to construct the front page
  • Kudos — Send little compliments to a post’s author.
  • Userpoints — Every time a user edits the wiki, adds a post, or adds a comment, they earn points, redeemable for cheap plastic toys.
  • Guestbook — Post comments on a person’s profile.
  • Wikitools, Freelinking — Make the book module act more like a wiki.
  • FCKEditor — WYSIWYG editing.
  • HTML Corrector — To close HTML tags in teaser views.
  • CCK and Views
  • recent_changes — To show a history of all comments, edits, and new posts.
  • Diff — Show the difference between post revisions.
  • Imagecache, Imagecache Profile — Create different-sized thumbnails of users’ avatars.
  • Content Profile OR Node Profile — Helps separate the initial sign-up account profile from a more complex user profile. e.g. more.zites.net

Some of the modules I didn’t have a chance to cover, but are definitely useful to check out:

  • Activity — Similar to Facebook newsfeed. I haven’t had success using this module because of some odd bugs.
  • User badges
  • Mailman Groups + Mailman Manager — Make organic groups even more like Google Groups, with mailing lists.
  • Service Links — Users can forward your content to a friend via e-mail.
  • Drigg — Make your site Digg-like, especially useful if you run a news aggregation-type of website.
  • ExtraVotingAPI — Vote up or down content, ala Digg.
  • Fivestar — Users can submit votes (one star, two star, etc.) on each content node.
  • Google Analytics
  • Opensocial + Opensocial Container — Add applications like games to your social site.
  • Notifications OR Subscriptions — Allow users to be notified by e-mail or SMS when updates occur. Great for keeping users hooked.
  • Facebook-like Status — Useful for Twitter-like user microblogging