I recently read a blog entry about the Architectural Principles of Social software and thought it was great. Tim Bull outlines what he thinks should be in the mind of IT and Business professionals when they are going to deploy a social software solutions, such as Lotus Connections.
In summary, he presents the following principles:
- Limit social software data to basic security only
- Social software should leverage authoritative data for relevant information
- Simple ubiquitous online access
- Global sharing
- Modular, highly integrated services
- Configuration, not customization
- Build for rapid growth
If you are following me on Twitter, you know that I just visited several customers in Rio de Janeiro to evangelize social software and discuss adoption strategies. I strongly focused on points 3, 5 and 6. Access to social software tools from the context I already work in is essential. If users live inside a Portal, that's where social software should be. If users are mobile, that's where social software should be. If users live in a mail client, that's where social software should be. Remember, you are "throwing" a new tool at your users. Don't make it a hassle to use it, otherwise adoption will not happen.
As such, I would like to add to the principles listed above:
- Simple to use UI - the user interface must be self-explanatory. Anything more complicated than that will be a turn-off for users
- Eliminate workflow - don't require posts/entries to require management verification. This would be another turn-off for users
- Internationalization - the UI should be translated into the user's local language which makes users feel welcome