Idea from Designing for the Social Web

Just read/skimmed Joshua Porter’s book, Designing for the Social Web (Voices That Matter). In all, it’s a good book that has lots of great ideas for building social sites. The book focuses first on defining what the social web is, and then spends the rest of the book discussing design and interface problems for the social web, and how to fix those things.

One idea I wanted to share (and to remember for my own future use) is this, from page 34:

“So how do you avoid feature creep when creating and adding features? Start with your objects, your nouns. Observe all the actions people do with/perform on those objects, and those are possible features for your application.”

So, for example, a list of nouns or objects might be Videos, Articles, Photos, and Books. The Verbs, or actions, for Articles include things like this: read, archive for later, quote, link to, share, comment on, annotate, etc.

Cool idea! So – when building a new website or web app, this is a great way to figure out what it should do, and what features it should have (and what features people will potentially ask for, too).

pic by Ben Dodson