Designing for the Community Experience Event

Posted on May 26, 2009




This one’s tonight, so I thought I’d get the post up ASAP. From a Facebook invite, because I’m part of the Vancouver User Experience group, although I’ve never managed to make it to one of these really interesting-sounding events. There in spirit, baby!

That’s the trouble with social media; sure, it lets you know what’s going on, but suddenly you realize how much you’ve been missing all these years!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Networking: 5:30pm to 6pm | Seminar: 6pm to 7:30pm
The VFS Digital Design campus is located at 420 Homer Street between Pender and W. Hastings
The doors will be locked after 6pm!
Cost: Free

As the popularity of social networks on the web has risen dramatically over the last few years, many designers and developers have found themselves running into a bit of a dilemma: does one design and build for promotion and virality, or to enhance their site’s existing community experience? Fear not, fellow user interaction designers; these two things need not be mutually exclusive.

Creating a sense of community in a web-based environment is a complex puzzle at the best of times, with hundreds of moving parts that can be hard to nail down. It’s also an exhilarating experience that can be as addictive to designers and developers as any drug. This session will work through several examples of how you can design (or update) your site to integrate some of the key elements required to build any successful community:

:: Create a barrier to entry (it’s not as bad as it sounds!)
:: Provide users with a sense of identity and ownership
:: Give users control over their content
:: Provide social tools for discussion and collaboration
:: Offer multiple paths to discover interesting content
:: Encourage reciprocity and cross-pollination
:: Don’t be a faceless entity: get involved in your community
:: Create and develop your super-fans
:: Allow your community to share content and promote itself
:: Listen to your users: triage feedback, iterate quickly, grow organically


Our speaker
Nick Bouton is a user experience developer and community architect based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has over 10 years of experience in software and web application design and development, and is passionate about creating and growing online communities.

Nick is responsible for front-end development of web solutions at Habañero Consulting Group, which includes interaction and interface design and development, establishing look and feel, and ensuring usability. A dynamic developer, Nick has extensive experience developing rich internet applications (RIAs) using AJAX, Web 2.0, and client scripting. He works primarily with the .NET Framework, as well as various open source platforms.

In addition to his position at Habañero, Nick is the founder of Taunt Media, a consultancy that sponsors, develops, and nurtures several community-driven collaborative website properties including Protagonize (, a collaborative fiction-writing community. Nick majored in Computer Science at UBC, and studied Java development at BCIT. Prior to beginning work at Habañero, he held a variety of positions including as development lead for OpenRoad Communications’ enterprise 2.0 intranet, ThoughtFarmer; as a software engineer at Versatile Mobile Systems, and as technical lead for Tribal DDB Canada in Vancouver.

Location: VFS (Vancouver Film School)
The VFS Digital Design campus is located at 420 Homer Street between Pender and W. Hastings. Enter through the side door on the east side of Homer Street. The event will take place in Theatre 1 accessible from the main foyer.

Our Sponsors
Location Sponsor: VFS
VFS has supported VanUE since our inception and we would like to thank them for their continued generosity!!