Affordances and design guidelines for effective social network platforms

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Alireza Nili
Lecturer in Service Science
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Social network platforms support creation and exchange of user-generated content.

However, among several different types of social networks that have been launched since more than a decade ago, some continue to exist and have had growth in users and the amount of information exchanged, while many others did not witness a significant growth.

If we are going to design an effective social network platform (a platform that meets user's expectation), what are the affordances and design features of the platform that make it effective for users? What are the guidelines (recommendations) for designing such a platform?

Research activities

As part of the project you will need to:

  • explore different types of communities and select one or two of them
  • conduct a literature review and/or empirical research (e.g. interviews, focus groups and/or design workshops)
  • identify and categorize the affordances and design features that are required for an effective social network platform.

You do not need to design an actual platform, but you may need to provide design guidelines or develop a complete design theory.


  • Identifying and clarifying the affordances and design features of social network platforms; and/or
  • design guidelines for designers; and/or
  • a complete design theory

Skills and experience

For this project we are looking for someone who can fulfil the following requirements:

  • professional discipline (e.g. meeting project milestones and deadlines)
  • experience with academic writing
    • you will need to send/email an example of your academic writing/paper
  • experience in conducting literature reviews
  • ideally, you have conducted user interviews, focus groups or design workshops

You do not need to have any coding background, but knowledge and skills in qualitative data collection and analysis is important.

If you are completing a PhD, you may need to use a method of quantitative data collection and analysis (e.g. survey or experiment), so you need to be willing to learn some quantitative data collection and analysis methods during your PhD project.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.