Summary of Onboarding in Social Interfaces

Since I headed up a couple of research groups in the later 1980s and early 1990s I have been interested in user interface design and its effect on user behaviour. Since these two aspects intertwine it is good to see the area now better described as user experience or UX for short. It’s taken me a while but I am now aware of the insightful UX Magazine (@uxmag) and its blog feed. [Thanks to danah (@zephoria) and her latest article in the magazine.]

Another term, onboarding, that is summarised in another article also caught my eye, mainly because it is so important for social interfaces. The maxim that you never get a second chance at a first impression is hugely important for web-based social media tools. Onboarding is also key for smartphone apps as Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox for February about low starting hurdles for iPhone reinforces the concept.

I guess onboarding applies strongly to all user generated content as generations of journalists know when they kick off a newspaper piece with a well-chosen summary. We all need to take onboarding on board.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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