In a previous post Social Networking and the Mobile Phone, I had discussed how mobile can extend the reach of a social network and open up new ways of socializing. I have gone through a couple of mobile social networks out there and they are nowhere near my expectations. So I decided to list down a few scenarios for you to consider.
- I open the client from phone menu, it opens quickly and I get recent photos/updates from my friends.
- I can easily send updates from main page itself.
- I open a map and my friends are mapped onto their locations in the map, I can narrow down the map by giving a radius of say 1 KM, 5 KM, 10 KM.
- I can easily start conversations with my friends
- I can classify friends in groups/categories and choose how much of my profile is visible to which group
- I can follow updates from a single friend or a group/category
- I am at a location and I can choose to see who else from the network is there, I can see their profiles and nudge someone I want to connect with. If they nudge back I can start a conversation.
- When I post something, I can also send the update to any other networks I’m active in as well, including say Twitter, Facebook or FriendFeed.
- I take photos and videos from the camera and select post to <network> from the menu, I add my comments, geo-tags are automatically added and media is uploaded
- I enter (or point to) a location in the map; and photos, videos of the location and comments entered for the location are shown in a map indicating exact positions of photo/video/comment entry.
- My location is automatically updated. I can choose the level of detail of the location i.e. update only city, or just the locality or exact location. I can also choose to go “offline” where my location will not be published.
- If I just want to send a text update, I am able to do so via SMS.
Listed above are a few things I want to be able to do, now here’s something I don’t want to do – Check for compatibility with my phone, download a client etc; it should just be there on the main menu. Social networks that tie up with carriers and/or handset manufactures will be better positioned than those who are not.
This is just the beginning
This is just the “What to implement” part (and that too off the top of my head), what’s equally important is “How it’s implemented”. This is where Visual and Interaction design will play a key role in designing the experience. Making sure interface is clear (as in not cluttered) and visually appealing, user is easily able to do things that he wants to do (as in relevant options are readily available, contextual navigation will play a part here) etc etc. Oh and don’t forget performance….oh yes, engineering has a part to play as well :)