Welcome to the Neighborhood 2.0

VOX header

Surely you’ve heard by now that Six Apart’s new neighborhood platform VOX has launched.

I really like it. In fact, it’s the first online “place” that my mom’s signed up with, who was shortly followed by my brother (who found me initially on Facebook and I cajoled him into joining VOX).

Now that they’re both on it, I actually feel pretty comfortable about them giving it a go without me chaperoning them along.

Don’t get me wrong… I mean, there’s a bit of complexity in VOX, but I kind of feel like, if they play around a little — with the teasers that incite you to actually contribute and connect (suggest a neighbor feature on the invite page is genius) — they might just get into all this “Web 2.0” stuff I’ve been yammering on to them about for ages.

So now, imagine going home for Thanksgiving and rather than having to explain “feeds” or “Flickr”, we can just follow up on posts that they read but never commented on… or photos of my neighbor’s that they liked… Imagine using VOX, with its facile design and attention to detail, to finally connect with folks who normally could care less about this stuff.

Yes, finally.

It’s funny, but lots of people talk about “designing for Grandma” or “soccer moms” or other supposedly technically inept audiences (though, who in reality are often just as — if not moreso — savvy than the folks making such comments). But I think VOX has gone further than many who have come before and have successfully built a product and a community that I wouldn’t mind introducing my mom to (in fact, I did just that) and who I wouldn’t mind taking her through so that I knew it made sense and so that she could get the most out of her time spent on it.

In fact — and this is critical — once she’s set up and off on her own, I trust VOX to not get in her way or insult her intelligence. Perhaps I’m belaboring the point, but there are just so many nuances that make VOX feel friendly and worth working with that it’s important to point out that VOX is, above all, an excellent example of applied restraint and the execution of clear intention.

The one geeky thing I’ll add is that I’m eagerly awaiting OpenID integration so that we can start pushing forward with making the experience of grassroots identity consolidation as easy and good looking as VOX.

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

3 thoughts on “Welcome to the Neighborhood 2.0”

  1. Thanks for the kind words Chris. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a decent start. OpenID will come very soon…

  2. We definitely all appreciate you taking the time to point out what you like about Vox — hell, I’m still amazed my mom’s posting on it! Noam didn’t mention that Vox is already an OpenID provider, which is a great first step, and as he mentioned, we’ll keep working on making improvements.

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