In the days of facebook economy, I’ve tried to read a lot about persuasive technology and talked with a lot of friends and mentors, who know a lot about these topics. I’ve been lucky to learn a lot from these interactions. But, the real insight came to me a few days ago, when I observed a friend of mine having a viral flu.
The flu was viral. So my friend did not have to do anything special to spread that flu/virus. It would spread by him doing normal actions (like breathing, sneezing, touching objects, etc.)
That’s the key design principle. To create viral software applications, we need to make sure that the host (user) does not have to take any special actions to spread it. If the user needs to do something out of his/her way for the app to be viral, then the user will either not do it or will need to be artificially incentivized (both of which are inefficient.)
Several of the top 20 facebook applications inherently adapt this principle of virality.
What else makes things viral?