UI design pattern tips: the 'follow' feature

In the latest in a series looking at website design patterns, Chris Bank of UXPin looks at the 'follow' feature.

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 track and keep up to date with activity on topics or themes, not just people.

The solution

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

It's not just people you can follow online. On Pinterest, for example, you can follow boards

Following lets you select friends, channels or artists that you want to keep track of, and updates are shown in the user's newsfeed.

Whether they're your friends or not, you can gain access to a lot of varied content by 'following' the activities and recommendations of other users. So this pattern allows users to get involved without having to worry about how many of their actual friends are using the app.

You don't need to know people to follow their content on Google+

Content shared with followers on sites like Google+ and Pinterest makes the content curation community possible and users can choose to follow topics, events, themes or even people to get fresh content built by and around the channel being followed.

Words: Chris Bank

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