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Are design flaws responsible for nasty blog commenters? Why can user backlashes against site updates reach such logic-defying discord? These and other questions arise when users begin to increasingly “live” on the sites they frequent, feeling that they are invested in the products’ development, growth, and success. Good design can encourage positivity and discourage negativity in a community. When making design decisions, site owners need to be considerate of the people who are turning their products into vibrant hubs of discourse and activity. Simple features might be easy to implement, but can drastically change user interaction. We will share our experiences from Tumblr, Worth1000, Aviary and other case studies showcasing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Avi Muchnick is a serial entrepreneur who specializes in creating artistic communities online. While attending law school in 2002, he founded Worth1000.com, a website for digital artists to participate in daily “Photoshop contests” that has more than half a million members. He most recently co-founded Aviary, a suite of collaborative design applications based in the browser.