The UX of PageRank

By | November 9, 2007

Why do I care about PageRank?  It’s not like I have, nor desire, any ads.  I don’t even have much traffic.  Yet, recently when my pageRank went from 4 to 5 in the google toolbar, I got this warm feeling.

It makes me  wonder if there is a UX nugget in here somewhere.  How can I harness the feedback loop of that little image in the toolbar to make users more likely to enjoy an application.  I remember when I was setting up LinkedIn.  They had this bar that gave me a “percentage complete” stat.  It went up when I filled in my profile.  I got that same warm feeling when the bar moved up.  Additionally, I felt less motivation for LinkedIn, when I got to 100%.  It took away my motivation to keep going.  I also felt the same thing on Experts-Exchange when my “ranking” went up.

Maybe the idea is to always have status bars that the user could increase through positive activity.  It is important that it means something and not be so abstract that the user doesn’t care.  It has to have rules, but it doesn’t need to have totally understandable rules.  I know that SEO best practices will make PageRank go up, but I have no idea how it works in detail.  In LinkedIn, I understand what to do to make the number go up, but I don’t understand why it’s 90% instead of 91%.  The main thing is that I have a basic desire to push it up and a course of action that I could take to help make it higher.

Having goals like this are very beneficial to a positive user experience. Ye, most systems don’t have something like this.  I am going to see if I can find a place for it in Marketo.

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