A interesting essay from Clay Sharky about situated software.
This is software that is built for a small community of users with a
central social component. It doesnâ€™t have to be generic, scalable or
consistent but it does need to be specifically attuned to the needs and
culture of the user group.
This rings a lot of bells for me with the circus society website
that I support. The core users probably number no more than a dozen or
two. Many of them are technical but plenty are not and even the geeky
ones have a limited attention span. A while back I experimented with a
phpWebsite-based site. Whilst technically better, it required some
initial perseverence from users and was ultimately off-putting. A phpBB
suffers a similar fate: someone commented the ratio of clicks to
posting was too high.
The big success of the site has been the chatboard, reverse-engineered from tagboard.
With custom smilies and the simplest interface this is the major draw
to the site. It doesnâ€™t require registration, support threads or
categorise. It just works really well. The challenge is to extend the
functionality of the site whilst making it even easier to