From Social Patterns
The user wants to check in and see status updates from her friends, see current activity from her network, comments from friend on recent posts and other happenings from across her network.
- Use this pattern when the experience of the site revolves around the activities of people and their networks whether the activity takes place on the network or not.
- Use this pattern as a companion to the public profile.
- You want to encourage repeat usage.
Provide access to other features and applications from the dashboard.
Allow users to select what elements they want displayed in their dashboard. Give them a reason to come back repeatedly.
Don’t hide important social aspects to make room for editorial or advertising. The site Upcoming moved “Friends Events” off the homepage in a recent redesign to make room for “Popular Events” which are now shown by default. “Friends Events” are a click away and much less discoverable than before. This change, while exposing more events for the user, seriously damaged the social virality of the site.
Allow users to supplement their network’s onsite activity updates with RSS feeds of other activity elsewhere.
Provide the ability to create a status update directly in the dashboard if status is an important part of the site.
Provide easy access to the profile of people in the user’s network.
Provide easy access to the user’s own profile for review and editing.
The Personal Dashboard is the companion to the Profile. The dashboard should contain information and access to activities that the user wants to participate in on an ongoing basis. From the dashboard she should be able to click into her friend’s profiles to get more information about them and their interests. For sites like Facebook, Friendfeed and even the redesigned Flickr, the dashboard is the user’s version of the homepage for the site and revolves around recent activity of all kinds.