Growing a Web Community:
Three Immutable Laws, Nine Timeless Design Strategies

Amy Jo Kim, NAIMA.

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University September 29, 2000

The Internet is fundamentally changing the way that we communicate. Technologies like email, message boards, chat rooms, and web conferencing helping friends and families stay in touch, enabling far-flung colleagues to work together effectively, and connecting businesses more intimately with their customers. These communications tools are rapidly becoming cheaper and more accessible -- which presents a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to use the Web to create or strengthen the relationships among a group of like-minded people.

In order to grow a successful Web community, it's not enough to simply pull together some communications tools and features; you need to know what type of community you want to develop, why you're doing it, and who you're building it for. You'll also need to deal with constant evolution in the design, technology, and management of your site, and find ways to leverage and channel the energy and ideas of your members.

In this talk, Amy Jo Kim will outline the key principles for growing a successful and sustainable Web community, and will bring these ideas to life using examples from today's most innovative and influential Web communities. This material is based on her recently-published book, Community Building on the Web.

Amy Jo Kim has been designing innovative online social environments for over a decade. Trained as a research scientist and software engineer, Kim's career in Behavioral Neuroscience was permanently derailed by a fascination with building systems that people use. She's now a leading specialist in Web community design, with a deep and diverse background in client-server engineering, multimedia interface design, and online gaming environments.

Kim is the Founder and Creative Director of NAIMA, a design studio specializing in cutting-edge Web communities. NAIMA's client list includes Adobe, eBay, Electronic Arts, iVillage, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Sony, Talk City, and Yahoo. Kim has taught online community design at Stanford University, and has spoken and written extensively about Web communities, including feature articles for WIRED and Web Techniques. She lives near Half Moon Bay, California with her husband and son, and has recently completed her first book, Community Building on the Web.

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