10 October 2006

Jakob Nielsen on getting more users to contribute

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90-9-1 rule
A few months ago I wrote about a Guardian article indicating that “if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will ‘interact’ with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.”

Now Jakob Nielsen is looking at this phenomenon which he calls the “90-9-1 rule” and adds some interesting data (from Technorati, Wikipedia and Amazon). Reflecting on how the unrepresentativeness of contributions can cause problems, he suggests five ways to make participation a little less unequal:

  • Make it easier to contribute;
  • Make participation a side effect of something else they’re doing (e.g. buying);
  • Have users modify something, rather than create it from scratch;
  • Reward — but don’t over-reward — participants;
  • Promote quality contributors and contributions.

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