10 Web App Tips From 8 Inspirational Speakers

November 2008

FOWAThis is a long overdue roundup of FOWA London 2008. I was looking through my notes and decided that rather than giving a general roundup (as you’ve probably already read or seen all the talks online) I would share with you my 10 favorite points from the 2 days.

1. Push your content to other sites

Kevin RoseKevin Rose - Digg - The Future of News Stuff that happens on your web app should be easily pushed and shared with other apps e.g. Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed

2. Monetize later when the community is built

Edwin AokiEdwin Aoki - AOL - Web Apps Are Dead - Long Live Web Apps Building the community and bringing people together is what matters. Build the web app based on your passion and then monetize.

3. Do stuff later when the user is gone

Blaine CookeJoe Stump, Blaine Cooke - Digg & (ex)Twitter - Languages Don’t Scale Queuing is a technique you can use to do stuff later when the user is gone therefore speeding up the immediate response. “Every large website has some sort of queuing mechanism”.

4. If you force users to supply info that doesn't matter, you will get inaccurate data

Kevin MarksKevin Marks - Google - The Future of Enterprise Web Apps Only ask the user for the info that matters to them (e.g. username, email, password). If you as for a zip code, for example, chances are you’ll get 90210 or 12345 - this information is worthless.

5. Plan to localize your app/social network

Kevin MarksKevin Marks - Google - The Future of Enterprise Web Apps Containers provide a social context for your users and localization is a container already established geographically. If you localize your app it enables an easy way for people to form connections.

6. If they haven't contributed yet, show them how

Alvin WoonAlvin Woon - Plurk - The future of social app interface design Every web app has novice and advanced users. You need to spend time with the novice users and educate them. When they register, show them how to do things. Expert users don’t need guidance, they’ll go off and do their own thing.

7. People love to look at data about themselves

Ben HuhBen Huh - I Can Haz Cheeseburger - How to take your community to the next level Info porn! Share info on a daily basis about your users and they’ll come back on a daily basis to check this data.

8. Make users contributors

Ben HuhBeh Huh - I Can Haz Cheeseburger - How to take your community to the next level Let your users contribute - they’ll work for you for free (look at Wikipedia). Once you start paying people to contribute, they become employees and things get complicated and expensive.

9. There's social value in knowing what your friends know

Bret TaylorBret Taylor - Friendfeed -The Future of your Online Presence The data you provide should be relevant to your user. Even if you’re not interested in a particular subject, if 20 of your friends or family have read an article then you’ll want to read it too so you’re not left out.

10. Don't prematurely Optimize

Elaine WherryElaine Wherry - Meebo - Scaling the Synchronous web You can’t predict what’s going to happen your app so wait until it does happen and deal with it then, don’t waste your time trying to fix something that hasn’t happened yet.

Other areas of interest from FOWA

  • Bun Huh's lolcats were very popular (which, to be honest, I just don't get)
  • Kevin Marks made a good point: In Star Trek, why doesn’t the computer know what date it is? (Captain's log stardate...)
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