This was supposed to be published a while ago.
I won’t go into the details of what I found, I’ll just introduce the most interesting aspects.
The results of the research:
1. PINTEREST: When you cancel your account on Pinterest, the site keeps your pinboards (albums, basically) alive. You can even return to the site with all of your settings and boards intact if you use the same email address.
—-This seems to suggest that Pinterest knows its members will come back, even if they take a break. Either Pinterest members habitually feel the need to suspend their boards, or Pinterest designers know there’s something in Pinterest that makes the members return. They could be playing on human psychology.
2. WORDPRESS: the notifications tab is shaped like a speech bubble.
—This makes the notifications feel less like intrusive alerts and more like a conversation. The notifications tab also includes comments, so WordPress seems to be encouraging replies to those comments. On other participatory media sites, the speech bubble also signifies the message tab, which creates and even strong suggestion to the user that those notifications are not meant to be seen then ignored.
3. ORGSYNC: events are both in the feed, in the calendar, and off to the side.
—-Orgsync REALLY does not want people to miss their meetings. Unlike other sites I’ve been to, OrgSync puts your events in your feed. The designers seem to realize how seldom users look at the calendars on the site compared to how frequently they scroll through their feed. Putting the events in the feed ensures people will see the events.
4. TUMBLR: tutorials aren’t optional, they appear as the user scrolls past the object.
—(Amusing side note: when users first sign up, tumblr gives them the option to choose from a list of pre-designed names such as CrispyCheesecakePatrol and SparklyWonderlandStrawberry)
—The designers realize young people don’t bother to go through the tutorials because they prefer to figure out the site themselves. I suspect this is the result of being the first generation to grow up with ubiquitous computer and internet usage (there was no one to teach us how to use a computer and internet). As I scrolled through my tumblr dashboard, important icons would animate and a textbox would appear with one or two sentences explaining it’s function. This method of giving a tutorial both ensures that everyone sees it and tells the users which functions are important.
Ultimately, I’ve decided to focus on Pinterest. It, like Facebook, allows users to come back after they’ve decided to quite without forcing them to rebuild their networks and re-gather information. I’m curious as to which site decided to do this first and I want to know why, specifically, they do it.