As we complete tasks after another to make sure that we can make the deliverables of the summer project something that we can be proud of; we also bump into questions that arose.
At the Service Design team, one of the more significant question that we discussed a lot about was that of community building. Or how did we imagined the ideal community would be like. As we debated amongst ourselves what it meant and how we design for that, we’ve examined few online communities and here are 3 of the core commonalities that they seem to have.
Functional communities commonly gravitate (or are built) around the problems or ideas and topics that people are interested in. Information are shared, and ideas discussed and shaped. The sheer delight (and frustration) of discussing a topic of interest (eg. football, politics) with people reflects very much in a community - eg. a facebook group. The back and forth of conversations reflects like those in real-life, which then means that a lot of managing a community requires finding a balance between having engaging discussions and maintaining a positive environment.
While this is somewhat straight off-the-bat if you’re thinking about fully online communities - online interaction is a huge part of the experience. That said, some of the membership-based communities that we looked into, for instance, Circular Economy Club and Creative Mornings while have no observable interactions amongst the communities online, host regular meetups with members in person, which goes in-line with how professional communities network and share information with local communities. Two-way interactions, while is necessary for communities to flourish and expand, the frequency and method of these communications are adaptable to suit the community itself.
Guidelines & Accountability
One other crucial aspect that makes up a community of quality, is the values and the culture of the community itself. While culture is an abstract manifestation of the way the people within the community interact with one another, guidelines are one of the more pragmatic and direct way to communicate unacceptable behavior like trolling. Take for instance Reddit’s community guidelines, or Quora’s required association with your real-world identity, to avoid the abuse of online anonymity.
Without doubt, creating and managing an online community requires a lot of balancing acts. But as we are able to define the terms as to what is important in building one, it is (with hope) that our design would be built in line of that focus.
Till then, back to the working table.
This post is written by: Mariia Bobrova, Team Members, Workboost