There are many schools of thought on how to improve commenting on the internet, most of which focus on trying to convince commenters to be more civil. But ReadrBoard turns that idea on its head, asking commenters to be more specific. And doing that, it found a whole new way of looking at the process. Co-created by Porter Bayne, Tyler Brock and Eric Chaves, ReadrBoard aims to change the face of online conversation as we know it. After a successful beta test on news site Hypervocal and (full disclosure) Latoya Peterson’s site, Racialicious, Bayne, Brock and Chavs decided to revamp the overall design and user interface in 2012. Here Bayne explains the concept behind ReadrBoard, discusses redesign on the fly, and shares a visual history of ReadrBoard’s evolution…
At ReadrBoard, we all think that all reader engagement — a share, a Like, a comment, a bookmark, a copy-paste, anything — is preceded by some emotion or thought: “That’s funny,” or “no way,” or “really?” or “my friend would love this,” and so on and so on. And we’re sure that far more readers have a reaction to content than are currently Liking, commenting, etc.
So, ReadrBoard is working to make it simple for readers to do that: react to content, with just a click. Sort of like a Like button … but any emotion or thought. And you can react to the whole page, or any part of a page…
The biggest conceptual change we had was realizing that the reaction precedes everything. Our early, prelaunch versions would show a reader five buttons after they selected content: react, or comment, or share, or search or bookmark. But we wanted it to be as simple as possible, as it felt like work to have to pick. Steve Jobs would say, “make it have one button.” Well, which one?
So, we asked ourselves, “what is the ONE thing this MUST do?” It seemed clear: react. The idea of losing the other functions was a system shock in a way, but we dug in on it. We would ask, “what if someone wants to react & share? React & comment?” It was always “react and _____”. That helped us realize, “oh… everything comes from a reaction. Rating, sharing, & commenting are all forms of expression that elaborate on the initial reaction or thought. So let’s start there.” Source: Journalists.org
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