Community Features in Your Web Design

In the previous post i discussed the importance of the social or community aspect in a website . Today I will give a few examples of how to incorporate the social aspect into your web design.

Forums / Discussion Boards.
This is perhaps the the oldest (in internet time at least) implementation of the social or community aspect in websites. Forums provides a perfect place for your users to discuss your site’s content, products, or services. Take note that Forums may not necessarily be appropriate in all scenarios. The rule of thumb is that if conversation about your website’s content is important, then it’s probably a good idea to create a forum or discussion board for your website.

Tags
Tagging has been one of the “distinct” characteristics of the web 2.0 renaissance. Although “keywords” has already existed before in the form of meta keywords, tags has gained a personal value to the users. What I’m referring here is not just tags that will facilitate the aggregation of your content, but tags that will provide your users more organised information about your content based on the “language” that they are accustomed to.

Chat
Very few websites utilise chat for the sole purpose of its community importance. But if done right, chat will provide readers a quick and instant way to communicate to other readers and thus improve their experience in your site. The “live” characteristics of chat gives it an edge over the traditional forum.

You should evaluate if adding the community aspect in your web design will improve the total value of your website project. As I said, some web design projects may not need very little community aspect if at all.

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