Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The 6 stages to getting your web site audience to commit

The online community contributors journey

Why do individuals join online communities? How do we attract more people to our community? Just because you have a great blog engine it does not mean that anyone will use it. The answer to these questions is simple, its the same reason that some one commits to i.e. buys any product. It s because the product has been marketed to you. Unlike a physical product the online product is different, and the marketing has a close relationship to the technology. This is important for the architect, as they have to consider the marketing in the design. The potential community member takes a 6 stage journey from knowing nothing about the community to becoming a fully fledged contributor.
  • Unawareness: If you havnt launched your product .. this is everyone in the world
  • Awareness: These are the people who have seen an ad or look at page that has a x-link.
  • Belief: These people could tell you what you product is, but are ambivalent.
  • Attitude: these are the people who are about to find out about your product, they say things like "have you seen ..." or "what do you think of ..."
  • Intention: These people say "Im going to join ... just as soon as I get a moment" they have probably been up to the site a few times, and may have been to many of your referees.
  • Committed: these people have logged in, signed up and done your Chutpta, and importantly they have also commented on something, joined in or added some content.
Finally ...
  • You need to keep the committed there so that they commit again and again.
In your design think about how you will measure each stage. The unaware is easy, its the number of people in who are "online" note that this number grows. The commiters is easy its the number of people who have made comments. The stages in the middle are tricky, and they are also specific to your product. As an architect think about which tools you will build into the design to record a metric against each stage.

If you want an introduction to Web2 do these 5 things ...

A description of are the basics of what makes online community tick

It does not matter which definition you use to describe Web2.0, they all agree with one thing, which is that it is being driven by the online community or social network. If you have never worked as a member of a virtual team then the collaborative and egalitarian nature of the Web2 tool set will seem like madness you. If you want to understand the lunacy then here is a list of things that will get you up to speed.

  • Organise an event [party/gig/exhibition] using facebook
  • Play an online game with someone you have never met
  • Organise your next personal project using project path
  • Add to the definition of something that you are expert at, in the wikipedia.
  • Read a blog, and comment on it

Im now assuming that you have done all of the above.

As architects we may be asked to deliver solutions for these online comunities, and there is a vast amount of technology out there for you to enjoy and sometimes suffer.

Successful online communities grow and grow with little or no traditional marketing. When you first start an online community it seems to take you ages to get the technology and design how you want it to be whole lives can be lost making the perfect CSS to scale the as yet unmade content, we have all worked on projects where the tek has taken literally man years to get to the first release candidate.

When the big opening day finally comes and you launch your web servers out into the internet, it falls flat. No one registers apart from the people who made it (and their mums). If you have done some marketing then you get a few views but after a few months that drops off and your community is a failure.

The content of your web site can be made up of manny manny, things, such as games, forums pages, papers, documents, movies, comments, ... the list is endless. It is best to think of everything as just content. A piece of text is content in the same way that a "mapping favourites" feature is. The amount of and quality of this is called a websites weight.

With respect to your community portal there are 4 types of people in the world.

  • The Unaware - people who have never been to your website
  • The Audience - people who have diped in to your website once or twice
  • The Members - people who have registered
  • The Commiters - these are people who make a contribution

The atoms of content that contribute to the weight of a website is created by it contributors, some of which you normally pay; people such as the developers and producers, some of which you dont normally pay; people such as the blogers and commentators.

A good piece of technology allows the community that uses your site to create good content, which attracts more contributors, which in-turn add to the content.

Sooner or later the community start needing more features or scale, which empowers the community to make good content which is passed on to others who then join the community ... who need more features ...
who make better content ... and so on
This diagram shows how a successful community works. It is a relationship between content, technology and the community. If any part of this loop is weak then it lets down the others, which leads to a stagnant community. As architects we must decide on, design and describe the technology, but you must remember that we are only a third of the story. It is important to understand this relationship before you start designing

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Randomising an array using Java script

This function can be used to randomise an existing javascript Array object. It first creates a new array object and then iterates through each element of the old array, randomly placing the old array elements into the new array.

function randomiseArray(arr){
var ptr = 0;
var newArr = new Array();

while (ptr < arr.length){
var idx =0;
idx = parseInt(arr.length * Math.random());
while(typeof newArr[idx] != 'undefined')

var element = arr[ptr++];
newArr[idx] = element;
return newArr;
This function can be very usefully randomising small arrays, performance drops off when arrays get really large as it attempts to place each new element randomly, apart from the it works well. You are free to use and distribute this code.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

This is excellent.

Elliott - a little more

London, United Kingdom
I am an architect with shed loads of familiarity in providing high profile consumer media, products and services. I conceive ideas, design and lead projects to create new consumer products. I love brainstorming ideas with marketing counterparts and creating future facing and innovative solutions. I have been responsible for high volume mass consumer market features where scale, reliability and the ability to quickly respond are of crucial importance.