The reader-to-leader framework shed lights on the ways designers could engage and attract more people to their products (websites, applications, etc.). The author really made quite a few good points in illustrating such a framework. As an experienced netizen who has gone through the process of being merely a reader, to finally being a leader, I couldn’t agree more on the points the author’s made. It then got me thinking, as hopefully-soon-to-be instructional designers, what should we consider when designing say, an English-learning app, that could fully attract people’s attention and become involved in it?
A user-friendly interface and useful contents are no doubt a must. If the users cannot use it easily, or cannot learn anything useful from the app, then why should they use it again? Also, as the author contends, one way of attracting people to engage and become a reader is the trust transference mechanism. There are plenty of examples to back up this point. One of the most popular social network in China, Renren (namely “everybody”), made its way to the top of this field thanks to the power of trust transference. At first, it was just a social networking website called Xiaonei (namely “on-campus”), and it was originally designed for university students. It then grew fast, expanded and became no longer exclusive to the student body but to the entire society. One student uses it, and then his friends began using it, and their friends who are not necessarily students began using it, and … you already know the rest of the story. In the case of mobile phone apps, trust could be earned by users’ direct contact with friends, it could also be earned by users checking out other users’ ratings or comments on the app. We, as instructional designers should also keep this in mind. When designing our own products, pay attention to the users’ feedbacks, not only for the purpose of improving the product itself, but also for the reason that users’ feedbacks are vital to potential users while they are deciding whether to engage or not.
Building the sense of achievement and also establishing ranking system are very effective ways of pushing users to contribute, as the author contends and empirical evidence suggests. Shopping websites like Amazon have ranking mechanism for active commenters. They also value the quality of the comments, which not only reduce the possibility of meaningless or junk information, but also give those who give useful comments a sense of achievement, stimulating other users to produce useful comments as well, thus forming a benign cycle. The app we’re to build should also incorporate ranking systems as well. For example, we could rank users based on how many tasks they have finished in a day, or how many days in a row the users use the app and learn. This way the users could be more attracted to the app, and more motivated in learning. Also, social network should be connected to this ranking system, so that the users could have a sense of competition with the ones they know, and also enabling the app to spread faster.