Hey! I built up my website with the best pieces from others. Why this angry mob with torches knocking at my door?
Sounds familiar to you?
Somebody shows you a site and tell you that they benchmarked world class websites best practices, picked those fancy features from the hype, and implemented them carefully.
And yet those nasty peasants want to kill their beautiful creature… Why?
Let´s see some common examples:
- Google Search minimalistic interface it´s not the reason why it succeeds. It´s a consequence from a service philosophy.
- People don´t buy in Amazon because their yellow star rating. Stars are just a way to make visible, understandable and usable a buy decision-helping strategy.
- Twitter is not about placing your buddies square avatars. It´s about relationship.
Every single element in your site needs a purpose closely tied up to your site´s main goal. Don´t use anything just because it looks cool in some other place.
Some weeks ago I started to look for social interaction patterns in some sites, as Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, LinkedIn, Youtube… The usual suspects. I was just looking for detailed patterns suitable for wireframing. You know, best ways to rate or flag content, etc.
As I collected more and more, I grouped them and realized that it seemed to be some higher level information architecture patterns common to every site. Some “big blocks” appeared all the time, way obvious as “Profile”, or rather more unpredictable, as “Statistics”.
Furthermore, it looked like there were not only information blocks, but also main “actors”, primary interaction consecuences driving to new blocks, different browsing paths depending on, and system intelligence extending everything. Even more, as I advanced picking and sorting, it looked like it wasn´t about an inner website information architecture, but extensible and applicable to open social web systems.
So I decided to document all the step-by-step process:
If you want to skip just to results…
The simplified model
The extended model
If you want to play with the model, you can download the Omnigraffle Stencil.
I think that this is a work still in progress, so I´d really appreciate your comments to help me improve the model. Or just if it´s understandable what the heck I´m talking about…