Daniel Burka is the Creative Director of Digg and the Co-creator of Pownce. Digg’s been going about 3yrs and has a user base of 2million, whilst Pownce has been going about 4 months and has just over 100,000 users.
Neither Digg nor Pownce got where they are without taking onboard feedback, interpreting that feedback and folding it back into iterative releases of the product on a continual basis.
This kind of development process involving constant iterative improvements is exactly what Facebook applications need in order to spread and gain in popularity.
The Standford students that developed the SendHotness application on Facebook created one of the most popular and successful applications in the class. Currently, it has attained over 6 million installs and averages about 125k daily users. Pretty mind blowing for an application that is about 7 weeks old.
Their secret: They spent at least 80% of their time on metrics. Create the viral loop, measure it, test it, change it, tweak it…Repeat until your brain goes numb…Simple assets such as images really made a difference in influencing people and getting more people to download and use the application.
“…it was all about the persuasive nature of our changes”
One interesting insight they mentioned in an interview was the dramatic improvments in sent invitations when they chose to do away with a large invitation window with thumbnail images of freinds and instead have a minimized invitation window with no images; psychologically, the feeling from a user’s perspective when seeing the large invitation window was “oh no, not another invitation screen – I hate sending invitations [skip]…”