Of the applications that have been most successful, several common themes exist. Following is a list of what users want, based on these applications. Most of this advice is self explanatory – but we’ve qualified things a bit to give you some context.
- Users want to be entertained. Users are bored, but they’re bored in small chunks. Give them something that they can accomplish in less than a few minutes and still be entertained.
- Users want to communicate. Communication is at the heart of the social graph. If you create a game that lets users fight evil predators, that’s fine. But you better make sure social interaction with friends is at the heart of the game.
- Users want status. Make people feel important. If a user can declare their glory to the rest of their community, they will. It gives them pride, and entices other users to participate more. Just be careful that you don’t make things too ‘gamey’ (unless it’s a game, of course).
- Users want bells and whistles. Black and white is boring. Straight lines are boring. Two dimensional is boring. Make your application media rich if possible.
- Users want something cooler. If a user can do ‘X’ on Facebook, why not just make ‘X ‘a little cooler? We call these apps ‘profile enhancers,’ and they’re usually very successful.
- Users want to express themselves. The more personal you can make your application, the better. Allow the user to declare themselves to the community. This can be done in many different ways – and the most creative expression enablers are the most successful.
- Users want simplicity. Right now, Facebook users want simple apps. If you’re building a virtual e-commerce world inside of Facebook, think about dumbing it down a bit. Not that users are dumb, they’re just busy.
Disclaimer: None of these points are ultimatums. Think about what your app provides to the user. Play up the points above that best relate to your product.