UI design pattern tips: activity feeds

In the latest in a series looking at website design patterns, Chris Bank of UXPin looks at the use of activity feeds.

Although many people are designing mobile products that are social in nature, few understand what that really means, how it works, or why it's important.

In this series for Creative Bloq, Chris Bank of UXPin, the UX design app, discusses the importance of social design patterns and details examples from some of the hottest websites and web apps today.

You can see previous posts from UXPin here. Meanwhile, for more examples of web design patterns, download UXPin's free e-book, Web UI Design Patterns 2014 and their free Web UI kit.

The problem

The user wants to keep up with what's happening around them and get quick updates on recent activity.

The solution

Facebook offers the most well-known example of the activity feed

Show recent activity that's relevant to the user within the app.

Aside from the obvious Facebook or Twitter news feeds, other web apps that contain an element of social interaction, like Quora or Medium have implemented activity feeds that provide users with an overview of recent activity from their friends or people they follow.

Quora also provides an overview of friends' recent activity via a feed

The activity stream can be used to aggregate recent actions by an individual user, commonly used on profile pages; more commonly however, activity feeds are used to aggregate multiple users from the perspective of one user.

These feeds are extremely useful in demonstrating different features of the UI by showing how other users are interacting with it, and in this also plays a great word-of-mouth role.

Words: Chris Bank

Chris Bank is the growth lead at UXPin, a UX design app that creates responsive interactive wireframes and prototypes.