Sunday, February 19, 2006

Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers

A successful UX/product doesn't need to be actively used by all users...

"As Yahoo! has been gobbling up many social media sites over the past year (Flickr, upcoming, del.icio.us) I often get asked about how (or whether) we believe these communities will scale.

The question led me to draw the following pyramid on a nearby whiteboard:

The levels in the pyramid represent phases of value creation. As an example take Yahoo! Groups.
1% of the user population might start a group (or a thread within a group)
10% of the user population might participate actively, and actually author content whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress
100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups (lurkers)

There are a couple of interesting points worth noting. The first is that we don’t need to convert 100% of the audience into “active” participants to have a thriving product that benefits tens of millions of users. In fact, there are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to do this. The hurdles that users cross as they transition from lurkers to synthesizers to creators are also filters that can eliminate noise from signal. Another point is that the levels of the pyramid are containing - the creators are also consumers.

While not quite a “natural law” this order-of-magnitude relationship is found across many sites that solicit user contribution. Even for Wikipedia (the gold standard of the genre) half of all edits are made by just 2.5% of all users. And note that in this context user means “logged in user”, not accounting for the millions of lurkers directed to Wikipedia via search engine traffic for instance."   continued ...   (Via Elatable)

One active user can still provide value for all inactive users (lurkers) - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

One creator can still provide value for all consumers

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