Monday, 12 May 2008

Developing Successful Communities Online - Part 5 - Scaling

Apart from being prepared for large numbers of user, scaling community platforms for business has design and business implications across two key fronts - localisation and re-usability.

Local customisation – when deploying across different regions
  • Implement a fully customisable design based on CSS, Master(Template) and Content Pages

  • Ensure a 'White labelling' oriented design i.e. A design that can easily be separated from the formatting and visuals, and which can easily 're-skinned'.

  • Implement Flexible language packs (i.e. Ones where users can modify or add content to the language pack itself) and support for site variations i.e. Workflow that informs administrators of local sites when master content has been changed in the primary language.

  • Focus on Folksonomy rather than Taxonomy i.e. Colloquial references to content rather than corporate or technical referencing. This happens automatically when you enable personal tagging for inputted content, and when nil result search terms are incorporated into tags or content.

Re-usability – for solutions that need to be scalable and transferable
  • Use a Content Management System that can 'package' the database design without the content

  • White labelling oriented design – as above. Partners can then apply their own branding

  • Fully customisable corporate skins

  • Use a scalable architecture

  • Provide customisable language packs

  • Create best practice guidelines drawn from user testing

  • Package moderated FAQ's and glossaries to create a startpoint for new sets of users

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