Social Media User Experience

Report PDF cover image

Messages, notifications, and alerts sent through social networks and RSS feeds must be relevant, timely, and well-written to be effective. Users are increasingly overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive on a regular basis, so messages sent through these channels must well-designed in order to grab users’ attention.

This 208-page report includes 109 design guidelines; 85 guidelines for postings sent from social networks and 24 guidelines for alerts sent through RSS feeds. The findings and guidelines are supplemented with discussions and 208 screenshot illustrations.

Topics covered

  • Understand how use social networks and RSS to receive information from companies and organizations
    • Finding companies and organizations
    • Choosing which companies and organizations to receive updates from
    • Deciding which delivery method to use
  • Social network design guidelines
    • Message content
    • Message frequency and timing
    • Voice and tone
    • Engaging followers and facilitating discussion
    • Profile information and design
    • Building a following and promoting a social network presence
  • RSS/news feeds: Design guidelines
    • News feed content
    • News feed frequency
    • Promoting RSS news feeds
  • Study methodology details, including test tasks, questionnaires, and other study protocols that have been refined through our two rounds of research

Research Method

The information in this report is based on two rounds of research. Usability research methods included:

  • Traditional usability testing, in a one-on-one setting
  • Eyetracking
  • Field studies in users' offices
  • Diary studies, to follow long-term use

Representative users evaluated the usability of notifications, messages, and alerts sent from 120 organizations. The studies took place in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.


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