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January 21, 2013

UX Introspection: Will You Get Noticed in an Online Discussion?

Are you happy with all the online communities you have been to? What are your experiences? If you are a product designer, how would you improve or re-design such experiences?

The most frustrating experience, I assume, is when you have something of value to add to a discussion and yet, your voice, your contributions are drowned out amidst the din. You feel, "Nobody is listening." You feel you cannot catch up with the volume, the rhythm, the flow.

Online forums, discussions, conversations are not new shinny things any more. They have been in existence for decades. According to this Wiki entry, "Early web-based forums date back as far as 1994." And now we have dozens of such forums from  phpBB, vBulletin, myBB to SMF, Vanilla and bbPress.

If  a community is active and thriving, it is usually because of  the moderators, the elders, the statesmen,--- in other words, the people --- seldom because of the software.

I'm illustrating such a user experience below. Say this is Alberta, Canada, asking its provincial residents about their opinions of education. They all agreed in the end that the goals of a good education are : moral, entrepreneurial, and technological. Below, you can see that the wise Yoda's voice is as weighty as the voice of the whole province.

But will they hear it in this discussion? Will you also hear it? Will anyone even get the chance to hear it a few minutes after Yoda posted his comments?


1 Minute Later


Yoda Education students make moral, able to make a living easily, and fond of science and technology.

2 Minutes Later


Blah3 Obama?Yada yada yada. I love Romney. I love Ryan more. They will make the current economy crises go away.

Blah4 Obama had failed to create jobs. Though I love him still. The current economy crises will go away.

Blah3 I think good degrees get you good jobs. Given current economy crises. Huh

Blah2 Right, Blah1. what about humanities too? Plato, Shakespeare?

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?

Yoda I think education should make students moral, able to make a living easily, and fond of science and technology.

5 Minutes Later


Blah104 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah
Blah105 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah
Blah103 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah

Blah102 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah
Blah101 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah
Blah3 Obama?Yada yada yada. I love Romney. Ilove Ryan more. They will make the current economy crises go away.
Blah4 Obama had failed to create jobs. Though I love him still. The current economy crises will go away.
Blah3 I think good degrees get you good jobs. Given current economy crises. Huh

Blah2 Right, Blah1. what about humanities too? Plato, Shakespeare?

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?

Yoda I think education should make students moral, able to make a living easily, and fond of science and technology.

10 Minutes Later


Blah104 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah

Blah105 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?

Blah103 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?

Blah102 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah

Blah101 Blah blah blah is yses blah.Blah blah blah is yses blah

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?
Blah3 Obama?Yada yada yada. I love Romney. Ilove Ryan more. They will make the current economy crises go away.

Blah4 Obama had failed to create jobs. Though I love him still. The current economy crises will go away.

Blah3 I think good degrees get you good jobs. Given current economy crises. Huh

Blah2 Right, Blah1. what about humanities too? Plato, Shakespeare?

Blah1 what about religions? What about liberal arts?

View more comments/posts   <--- Yoda's wise insights buried here forever!

Yoda is no victim.



He won't complain, he won't suffer. He will just use his time more usefully, until our EthicMinds team designs a better discussion software.

Added: we solved this in  Product Strategy : Will You Get Noticed in an Online Discussion?

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