Should Your Web App Go “Social”?August 25th, 2012 at 8:38 am by Ereika
When it comes to integrating social features into your web application, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether or not your app will benefit from integrating social features depends largely on the level of engagement you expect users to have within your app, and if social sharing will enhance that engagement.
If you do decide to pull the trigger, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Privacy – some users will embrace the new social functionality; others will not. Providing users with control over how and when they decide to share is important to ensure that your current users are comfortable with the additional features. For happy users, make sure privacy controls are simple to use and easy to find.
- Moderation – for some web apps moderation may make sense, while for others it may not be feasible. For instance, if your user base is made up of business professionals, moderation may be unnecessary, while for product reviews you may want to include purchase verification or some other limits. If you do decide to moderate, make sure you have the staff to handle the approval process – no one wants to feel like his or her message was lost, and you may have a lot of repeat posts and frustrated users in the process.
- Organization – social integration requires careful thought about how it will be organized in order to provide the best user experience. This is true whether it’s reviews and comments on a product page, private messages from friends on an account page, or an interactive profile page with badges and rewards for social behavior.
- Metrics – while social options can be fun for users, they are only worthwhile if they accomplish the business goals you intended. Whether that’s an increase in purchases, time spent in the application or some other measure, make sure you’re tracking the results both before and after implementation so that you can directly measure the impact.
Deciding to integrate social features into your web application is a big step, but one that can lead to impressive ROI in terms of engagement and user loyalty. Making sure your social integration goes off without a hitch requires taking these areas into consideration at every point in the process from concepts and storyboarding all the way to final implementation.
Tell us what you think: What’s the biggest challenge you face in social feature integration for your web applications?