Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lessons from Digg

digg - Antimatter and matter combine in chemical reaction - RUN!

(This article itself has nothing to do with this post, although is incredibly interesting nonetheless.)

Digg harnesses "Web 2.0" concepts beautifully, and the results are shown in the high-quality content. Using an extremely simple voting interface, tied directly to the site's identity ("Digg this") users are compelled to contribute, through posts, comments, or "diggs". The site is all about good content, and the audience itself ensures this: Users get what they digg.

Digg shows us that reducing page-refreshes is absolutely vital to interacting with your audience. Given a choice, users are far less likely to vote, comment, or post if the process is complicated, i.e. having to navigate through multiple pop-up windows, login screens etc. AJAX-y interfaces allow you to skip these steps, affecting user experience tremendously. Digging a story up or down doesn't cause a page-refresh (provided you're logged in) but does give you immediate feedback. Digging something down makes it disappear; and digging something up adds your vote to the total. The changing graphics (shading changes, button-press effect) also provide "positive feedback" for the user, rewarding the user immediately for providing the information.

The most obvious effect of the Digg system is to eliminate pointless comments, trolls etc. Often trolls have very low digg ratings, and many follow-up comments. These can be ignored fairly easily, but still take up a fair amount of space. A feature that Digg might eventually provide is allowing you to eliminate all comments that stem from a low-rated comment.


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