Following the introduction of Myspace, Linkedin and Facebook, social networks have become part of people’s everyday life. New online social networks appear almost daily developed to attract the attention of Internet users. However, design and implementation standards and guidelines are often sacrificed for innovation resulting in unusable social networking platforms destined to be doomed. Within this context, the present book recommends a design and implementation methodology which will allow future social networking platform designers and developers to work in a scientifically systematic and sound manner to reach their goal.
The journey begins with the identification of the pursued objective of the social network and the potential participants. The presentation of various methods and techniques to collect the requirements of the intended user group of the social networking platform follows. Best practices, guidelines and standards that will facilitate the conceptual and physical design of the platform are portrayed. An analysis of advantages and limitations for existing implementation platforms and potential implementation techniques is subsequently offered to facilitate the selection of the most appropriate tool for the implementation of the online social networking website. Various representative visualization techniques are examined in order to enhance the visual representation of the social network participants. Various usability evaluation techniques are then presented to aid in the assessment of usability and improvement of the actual user experience. Finally, future trends in the design and use of social networks are presented.