I have learnt that even though online communities can sound like just a digital space, it couldn’t be any more human. Each time we interact online we shape it, explore it, and communicate with others without time or distance being of issue. The Internet has connected us like never before and allows the individual to be empowered by information, by ideas, by a movement. I walk away with the idea that the most effective online spaces are framed with the end user in mind, operating the way someone would intuitively think. I see digital communities as a bigger version of the teams we have been operating in and have a clearer view of the communicative and operational struggles groups go through when trying to achieve a task.
There are many principles of design that go into a product, however, some I feel are more important than others with regards online communities and networks. For example, accessibility, if less people can access the platform or it is difficult for them, the weaker the network is. Efficiency is paramount to achieve things within a desirable time frame and to create more results with less effort. Finally, as I mentioned before, good design makes the product understandable, for if you are not able to do this no matter how innovative or well detailed the product is, it will never be used.
Before this class I never considered how useful and how powerful online networks can be and will use them in future as a valuable resource, as I hope the students after me will find also. The best advice that I can give future students is to be organized, communicative and present. Time management is imperative as the project is spread over 9 weeks, and although this seems like plenty of time in the beginning, the panic sets in as you get closer to the end. One of the biggest challenges in this class is effective team coordination so be very open about team communication from the very first day. The last and most obvious piece of advise I offer is to simply make sure that you show up to class and your group’s meetings and things will go a lot easier and smoother for you and your team. Best of luck to the new class, hope you have as much fun as we did!