Personal tools

Groups

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Contents

Problem

A user wants to participate, with a group of people, usually around a topic of interest.

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Group homepage for the San Francisco group on multiply.

Use When

Use when you want to allow people to create groups around topics of interest. Use when you want to create groups on the fly from a list of people. Use this pattern to create a suite of tools for a discrete group of users.

Solution

Groups and clubs are generally closed, private networks of people. In many cases they have come together based on a shared interest or topic, like photography or a school.

Ridiculously Easy Group Formation

  • Allow the creation of a group-on-the-fly with a list of users.
  • Allow one person to pull the group together and alert everyone they are invited or are automatically in the group.
  • Automatically connect each person to each other - in a mesh - and send or notify each person that the group has been created and they are now connected to everyone else in the group.
  • Indicate what the benefits are and what activities can take place in the group; i.e. group chat, private communications among the members, shared content, etc.

Create

  • Allow users to create both public and private groups. Public groups should show up in search results and have a minimum amount of content that is viewable by the public to encourage joining.
  • Consider threaded discussion boards as part of the group suite of tools.
  • Consider an email list or RSS feeds for the discussion boards.
  • Provide storage space as part of the group for centrally stored images and files.
  • Allow a minimum level of customization for the group. Consider preset templates to choose from or skinning to create an environment specific to the topic or personality of the group.
  • Allow group creators to mix and match the tools needed / wanted for the group.
  • Consider a variety of group tools depending on the needs of the group. These might include: photo albums, calendars, events, address book, maps, bookmarks, RSS feeds, discussion lists,

Finding Groups

  • Allow users to browse or search through public groups.
  • Provide a Join this group Call to Action from within Search Results as well as from the main group details page.

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google groups shows the number of members and activity level.

  • Each group should have a home – details page – which describes what the group is about. Users should see enough information to make an informed decision about joining the group.
  • Consider displaying an indication of activity level of the group.
  • Display the number of members in the group.
  • Provide a member list or roster of members.

Participation

  • Allow users to post and share images among group members.
  • Allow users to post and share files among group members.
  • Consider allowing members to invite other potential members to join the group.
  • Allow users to build a contextual profile (see Profile) that is built with participation and group activity.
  • Provide a list of groups the user belongs to on their on their homepage or dashboard.

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flickr groups are divided into sections based on administration/ownership versus membership. Groups with new activity have the NEW icon next to the group name and the list is ordered by recent activity.

  • Provide indication of recent activity in a group on the user’s dashboard.

Administration

  • Allow the group creator to assign administration duties to other members.
  • Allow the group creator to assign moderator duties to other members.
  • Allow the group creator to assign group ownership to other members. This is especially helpful if the original owner wants to leave the service but wants to allow the group to continue without their future involvement.
  • Provide tools for managing and deleting spam.
  • Allow admins, moderators and group owners to kick out members who violate the group rules.
  • Allow admins, moderators and group owners to block users from posting if the group is public.
  • Provide an option for membership approval.
  • Allow group admins, moderators and group owners to invite members.


Related Patterns

As Seen On