If I had been asked this question when starting the course, I would not have had any sort of ideas about design principles in terms of designing and fostering online communities or networks. Now after taking this class, I can definitely see how my design principles have developed.
Simple user interface:
I think after doing a lot of research into our online community of Indiegogo, I can definitely see that a simple user interface can be extremely effective for communities such as Indiegogo that reach out to a wide variety of different users. It is not safe to assume that all users will be able to use complicated interfaces, and by keeping it simple, many more people can join this online community. When you go to the website’s homepage you have 3 options: Browse campaigns, learn how it works, start a campaign. Next to this are the featured campaigns, and below you can see other featured campaigns. Not only does this make it easy for one to start a campaign quickly and easily, this also allows users to be able to easily donate. The best of both worlds. This is why if I were to start a community, the more simplistic the design, the better.
Social media links:
I think a huge part of online communities and networks is the social media that is linked to them. Social media is a great way to get word out about the online community, so that more members can join. This is how online communities such as facebook and myspace have been formed among the youth (and well now, even adults). Online communities and networks are all about connecting people. By linking social media to the online community from the start, the users will come on their own, and spread word about things going on within that specific online community. Indiegogo uses a unique algorithm known as the gogofactor, and by using social media and getting likes for your campaign on indiegogo, it is possible to boost this gogofactor and get your campaign featured. Therefore I have first hand witnessed the power of social media, and how it is an important part of online communities today.
What I have noticed in the past 2 years, is that everyone is beginning to have smartphones. Of course there are laggers, but I would say a large portion of the people I am in contact with have an iphone, a blackberry, a Samsung galaxy, or any other smart phone brand out there. This is why I think online communities should ALWAYS have a mobile interface! As technology is moving forward mobility is becoming easier and easier, and we seem to always be on the go. With the convenience of the smart phone, everything can now be done without having a computer, and by having a mobile interface, more users can be connected around the world, any time, any place.
Sorry for the late post! With projects due, the blog post almost slipped my mind. But here it is :)