Web Intents Design Push Recap

This weekend I attended the first Design Push in Brighton, UK. At this inaugural get-together a group of 20 or so designers and technologists focused on the problem of implementing Web Intents – see more background in my earlier blog post. It was a pleasure to not only meet other presenters from Google and Mozilla, but to also collaborate with a number of UK-based freelance user experience professionals for the day.

After an introduction by Danny Hope, Paul Kinlan from Google kicked things off by presenting a working demo of an image editing application built with Web Intents. Then, as part of my presentation about AddThis I had the opportunity to share with the team what bloggers and other larger publishers care about with regards to sharing tools and functionality. After my talk, Shane Caraveo from Mozilla provided a comparison of the original F1 sharing tool developed by the Mozilla team, and a more recent client-side interface they’ve been working on. Finally, Glenn Jones, one of the event organizers and founder of Madgex, posed some important questions that would help frame the recurring themes of the day:

  • How important is “social proof” – a propensity to share because a share count or a list of friends who also shared is displayed
  • How important is recognizability of social icons like Facebook or Twitter, compared to a button that simply says “share”
  • How should we balance the automated discovery of available “services” such as Facebook with explicit customization of sharing tools by publishers and “favorites” selected by their visitors?
  • How much of Web Intents belongs in the browser, versus on the page?

After our presentations and a survey of participants, we distilled everyone’s questions and ideas into several topics for breakout groups, including the interplay between the browser and the page, the linguistics of verbs and objects, and how to achieve critical mass of Web Intents.

Each group of 2-5 people met for several hours and then presented to the team at the end of the day. My team developed personas for different types of publishers and service operators to help the team understand ways that Web Intents could be beneficial, but also the kinds of questions and concerns each might have.

All told it was a productive get-together, and a great opportunity to meet a number of smart, passionate people. I’d like to thank Glenn, Danny and Andy again for inviting us to attend. While I was flying back to the United States they were working diligently to compile the day’s efforts in a wiki for public use and ongoing work. Look for additional details by following #pushwebintents.