Chapter 14

Design Requirements

What Does It Take to Actually Design and Build a Social Machine?

In all of the examples discussed so far in this book, I glossed over the mechanics of actually designing and building a social machine. What does it really take to make it happen? What are the issues you need to concern yourself with to take a product and make it social? There are plenty of good books that discuss every aspect of electronic product development (see the Resources section for a list of some of my favorites), but I will lay out what basic requirements, issues, and challenges you will face as you embark on your social design. If you are an experienced electronic hardware designer, most of the lessons and suggestions I make will be familiar, with the exception perhaps of how they apply to a design focused on a social feature set. I’ve tried to highlight those points to make it easier to find them. Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the obstacles we face today will fade as Moore’s law continues to work its magic, bringing costs down and making it easier to include computing power and network communications in more and more designs.

But First, a Quick Story . . .

I include this story here because I think it’s instructional. I want you to learn from my mistakes, because I’ve made quite a few. I boil the issues down into three lessons. These are the things I wish someone had drilled into my head before I started. Hence, I am presenting them to you in the hopes that ...

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