Engagement

  • Big Button Have one clear thing for people to do on your site, and put up a big button calling people to do it.
  • Build It They Wont Come Building a new website or service does not guarantee an audience will turn up.
  • Don't Educate People rarely want to be educated about how a complex system works. Instead, remove the need for them to become educated in order to achieve their goal.
  • Early Adopters Are Strange Your first users will be atypical, they are normally your friends and experts - so don't take them as representative for all users.
  • Give Someone A Headache Cause trouble to someone in a position of power to force them to reform their process.
  • Give Something Back Whenever you invite your user to contribute their time or information, make sure to give them something back - like a customized interface.
  • Harness Self Interest Don't expect people to contribute out of altruism, but make sure they have a real reason to do so.
  • Have a Business Model Even as a thought experiment, asking “who would pay money for this and how much?” can crystallize intent.
  • Intention Over Practice Don't build the things that people feel like they should be doing but ultimately won't.
  • Make Your Own Reality When designing a service, make your process reflect the legal rules that you wish existed, instead of those that do. Reality will catch up.
  • Missionary Without A Cause Pick a cause that you are close to, not one that looks world-changing. And no, people in rural regions of developing countries are probably not waiting for you to bring them a solution.
  • Next Step When you design a process, make sure that the last step gives clear feedback on what the user has done; and that it contains a suggestion for what to do next.
  • No Score Card Don't just make government score cards, make places that allow people to act on that information.
  • Personalize It Tell your users something about themselves and their own lives, instead presenting abstract, generic facts.
  • Presentation is important The content of your website probably has some implicit opinion on the topic you are tackling. How you choose to present the information is key to messages people take away and whether they take any action.
  • Progress Bar For collaborative projects, make sure there is a big progress bar to indicate the tasks already done and the work still ahead.
  • Push Don't Pull Don't make offerings for people to visit regularly, instead push the news they need to their inbox.
  • Remove A Headache Make a complex, badly-designed and cumbersome everyday process easier, and the result may be a completely different interaction.
  • Something Must Happen When you allow people to report information, you must have a process in place to follow up on their reports.
  • The Administrator In order for your vision to succeed, you have probably spent a lot of time talking to management types and securing high-level buy-in. Have you thought about how people administer your project on a day to day basis?
  • What Does It Do? Every page needs to include a clear description of what the service does, and what that page is about. People often arrive deep in your site from search engines, social media links, etc., bypassing your front page.