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Design, Simplicity & Calls to Action – Must Haves for Enterprise 2.0 (#e2conf)

Lots going on at the Enterprise 2.0 show here in Boston today. So far, I’ve met a lot of great people, with a ton of valuable sessions. Here’s principle 6, 7, & 8 from the guide to enterprise 2.0 e released earlier this week.

Principle #6 – Design Can Make a Big Difference

While in theory, this principle may seem like a no-brainer, it is important when it comes to enterprise 2.0 to keep in mind that small design changes can make a big difference. Taking the time to understand the positioning of the community, along with how exactly people use different features, is key to the success or failure of an enterprise 2.0 strategy. For example, a community deployment within the US military made a number of fairly minor design changes, and they were able to dramatically increase the number of views, visits, comments, blogs, bookmarks and question replies with very little growth in the total number of community members. A small change to the commenting feature resulted in a more than 350% increase in the number of comments being made within the community.

Principle #7 – Simplicity

Call this the Google lesson. The popularity of sites like Google and Twitter are based on the simplicity of the interface, and a clear path for participation. Even new users can quickly and easily comprehend the steps they need to take. To increase adoption of enterprise 2.0, organizations need to ensure that they practice simplicity and not make things overtly complicated. A clean user interface, with a specific path for participation from the first visit engages users instead of intimidating them. Furthermore, it is important to understand a lot of simplicity is about layering, you can achieve the same outcome in terms of activity or desired activities by just not showing everything up front.

Principle #8 – Appropriate Calls to Action

The unique value of enterprise 2.0 is engaging the voice of the community members, but in the beginning it can be difficult to get people talking within a community. There may be a lot of lurkers, but not a whole lot of people participating. Often, new users aren`t clear on what actions they could be taking whether it be uploading a video or making a comment on a piece of content, so they end up doing nothing. To get users participating from the inception of the community, and new users engaged from the day they join, there needs to be appropriate calls to action throughout the community to drive its growth and ongoing success.

A strong example of appropriate calls to action are found within FaceBook. With each user`s status updates, there is the opportunity for their friends to indicate that they like the item, or to comment on that item. It is clear to users what steps they can take with that content to participate, and this principle offers an immense amount of value to enterprises as they work to build thriving communities.

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the series with principles 9 &10. You can check out the whole guide to enterprise 2.0 here.

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