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Social Interaction Design

Social interaction design is the design of social media. It encompasses Web 2.0 design practices and tools as well as a kind of social practices-oriented approach to user experience and interaction design. Social interaction design is the design of user and social engagement with social technologies. Because it's for the world of web 2.0, it's neither pure design theory nor straightforward engineering. It has to talk to each at the same time. Social media after all are more than a bucketful of web applications, or web pages constructed out of user-generated content. The introduction of any design change or feature to a social media site does more than offer the individual user something new to do. As it is used by the site's audience overall, it becomes something more: a way of interacting and communicating.

Social interaction design anticipates what happens at the social level when a community of users engage with your site. It has something in common with urban planning, architecture of open spaces, traffic planning, or markets and economies.

The topics covered in this section are written up with greater detail in white papers (see Writings).

What's in this section

  • Site audit: this section, also available as a pdf, is a brief overview of the approach I take to social media client work. For more specific information about my social interaction design services, see the Work section of the Introduction.
  • Overview of SxD: this section is an overview of social interaction design, written mostly for designers and social media professionals. It describes how social interaction design differs from conventional software design, UI design, experience design and interaction design and why social media deserve a design approach uniquely tailored to online social practices.
  • SxD as design: this section describes social interaction designer's design palette and its elements. What goes on the screen, how it works to facilitate social interactions, how it structures talk, interaction, and communication. I cover different kinds of social practies, be they forms of talk, of self-presentation, of presence, or be they cultural, economic, transactional, etc.
  • SxD Theory: this section provides an overview of theoretical sources and concepts behind social interaction design. It is a quick look at how online social interactions may be explicated by means of applied psychology, sociology, linguistics, and more.

What's in the sidebars?

  • Sidebars contain related content, including short overviews of SxD elements and areas of interest, blog posts, white papers, and reading notes. Links to some of my film posts are not entirely just for fun. Film, too, has an enormously rich structure of production. It's not as different from social media as one might think.

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