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Online Communities: Designing Usability and…

Online Communities: Designing Usability and Supporting Sociability

by Jenny Preece

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Review of the state of the art as of the late 1990's emphasizes sociability and usability as twin pillars of online communities. Preece cites much literature in other fields, such as sociology, and includes several case studies. A passably good work now dated, it is bogged down by excessive leading which gives it a typewriter look and volume.

ETA: You will still want Preece if you are looking for recommendations, but I'm also finding good coverage of related topics in Mark Smith's Communities in Cyberspace. ( )
  chellerystick | Jan 14, 2008 |
This book addresses an issue that is increasingly relevant: how to foster good online interactions (what the author refers to as sociability). Pitched to a non-technical audience, this book covers some technical material about creating online communities, but it also covers registration, moderation, lurking and other social aspects of communities, and how to deal with them.

This book is worth a glance for anyone trying to build interactive services online. ( )
  danamckay | Oct 2, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0471805998, Paperback)

If the phrase "planned community" makes you think of terrible homogenous suburbs, take another look at the Internet. Although there are unplanned aspects and emergent behaviors, every detail for the most part has been designed by people who thought that they knew what they were doing. Might we do better? Human-computer interactions expert Jenny Preece takes apart our preconceptions and suggests new ways to improve our virtual realities in Online Communities: Designing Usability and Supporting Sociability. Part sociological review, part design manual, the book is dry enough to appeal to techies and academics, but humanistic enough to touch the organizers and activists who will put her ideas further into action. Beginning with basic concepts of community and online activities, Preece moves on to survey research on the use of virtual spaces, and then focuses on techniques to design and build optimal cybervillages for given needs and people. By using plenty of examples and case studies from actual Web sites and other electronic communities, she sheds light on tools that work to make them sustainable. Whether the current generation of e-planners will heed her words--and whether they can create something livable out of the weird suburb/wilderness hybrid that we have now--will be the key to determining how 21st-century humans live, work, and communicate. --Rob Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:42 -0400)

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