Diagnosis of users needs

Step 3/7

Now that the Forum issue of the prisoner's dilemma defining the internet is framed into a conceptual matrix, let us move forward to the diagnosis of our users needs with regard to existing solutions. For my part, I will focus on my own network experience ever since I migrated from Windows XP to Mac OS X, back in October 2012, considering that doing so will prove necessary and sufficient to square the cycle.

Insofar as my criteria for selecting a community of profiles are directly linked to the nature of my professional activity, which is about engineering an author-friendly new generation internet by the concept, which leaves me no time for social networking after work, since I really prefer outdoor activities, the return on experience I'm authoring here is related to the kind of technical problem-solving fora that I choose to consult on the rare occasions when users guides and tech support leave me with no better alternatives.

Those are essentially the following:
  • the Apple support communities forum (Apple technologies);
  • the Realmac Software forum (RapidWeaver application);
  • the Pixabay community (public domain quality pictures);
  • the OVH forum (internet access and web hosting services);
  • the Piwik forum (website traffic analytics).
My Alpha and Omega criteria of choice for this start-to-finish debriefing are the creation of a user profile and its suppression, with a first recurring observation: 1) the quicker it is to set up an account, the longer it takes to delete it! A rule that the Pixabay exception seems to be confirming by exactly the opposite, to the extent that this community's model is closer to that of a user-friendlier social network: if admission is subject to photographic contribution, all it takes to get out is to click the deactivation button.

Next come the profile configuration options (Beta criterion), which have a direct incidence on conviviality (Delta criterion). This is where two more observations confirm the first: 2) free registration for access to more technical (i.e. critical) contents (Gamma criterion) makes the user choose to remain anonymous, which has a direct negative incidence on the overall impression; 3) the readiness for open-minded discussions pertaining to demonstration and quality issues has a positive impact on the users' willingness to contribute; this correlation is confirmed by the adverse effect in the more tech and quantity oriented communities, which turns it all into a closed and non-inviting experience.

Back-to-front observation no. 4): such fora (the back end) hold a lot of anonymous dormant accounts, which the users reactivate from one problem-solving dilemma to the next. All this provides for a rather poor socialization potential, fueled by the reality of a huge system default, namely: the tendency of social networks (the front office) to promote the hybridation of operating systems.

This kind of analysis should lay the groundwork for the conception of your own network experience. I'll meet you at step 4/7 for a program status update on the configuration issues pertaining to my own NetPlusUltra® systemics.

Daniela BERNDT
This post in French / German