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323: Designing Social Proof

November 20, 2019

In this week's episode we dive into the murky waters of designing social proof in social networks. From upvotes to view counts, reputation to badges, there are a wide array of tools and patterns at a designer's disposal to communicate quality and popularity. But these patterns each have their own drawbacks, tradeoffs, and vectors for abuse. We dig into these, and more. Plus, as always, we share our cool finds for the week, this time featuring a Figma plugin and a beautiful indie video game.

Golden Ratio Patrons:

Sisu is looking for a thoughtful and data-savvy designer to help build the next generation of analytics software. You can find out more at (You might recognize Sisu from our interview with Michie Cao)

Flywheel is a delightfully designed managed WordPress hosting platform, thoughtfully built for busy creatives. Streamline your workflow with their slick platform and sweet set of workflow tools perfectly made for designers! Get started at


New supporters! Thank you to everyone who has joined our Patreon this week:

  • Timothy Pui-Fai Li
  • 明勳 李
  • Meena Balasubramaniam
  • Darren Soulsby
  • Sahil Chaturvedi
  • Will
  • Ronald Huynh
  • Kryston Schwarze
  • Coard Miller
  • Michael Goliver
  • Kevin Bennett

Ya'll also tweeted sweet nothings at us:

  • Paweł Szymankiewicz says "This type of @designdetailsfm episode is my favorite one" about episode 322.
  • Nathan Lindahl says "Definitely recommend @designdetailsfm. More focused on product/career than brand/creativity… but for sure insightful conversations."
  • Manny says "Thank you guys for answering my question again. And Jesus Christ, there are so much I need to take note for!!! It's like dark mode episode all over again. In a very good way 😍" after we dug into onboarding design in episode 322.
  • Adam Carroll says "Really enjoyed this episode" - thanks Adam!
  • Sahil Chaturvedi says "@designdetailsfm FINALLY I'm a Patreon supporter! Thanks for all the great content and genuinely useful information! Always just feels like I'm chatting with a couple buddies about design" - and we say: Thank you so much for your support!
  • Friend of the pod, Michael Knepprath says "@designdetailsfm the tier change feels very good imo - simple and welcoming" - super glad to hear!
  • And last but not least, Mingshun Li says "Just become a patron of @designdetailsfm! The show was my mentor when I was the only designer at my first two jobs. Great to contribute a little bit to the show!" - thank you for supporting the show, it means a lot!

Additionally, last week Brian was able to share what he's been working on for the past few months: GitHub for mobile! Rafa and Kevin over at Layout also discussed the app on their most recent episode.

Industry talk:

This week we dive into the murky waters of designing for social proof: the inputs, signifiers, and patterns that help people determine what is "popular" online.

One Cool Thing:

  • Brian shared the Vectary Figma Plugin which helps you apply your designs to 3-dimensional product mockups. Its very cool.
  • Marshall shared Hollow Knight, a beautiful and outstanding indie game that everyone should play. It's very challenging, but offers a simple onboarding experience which helps people ramp up as they go.

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