A social network study to identify the user features required for an online sports community network site
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.
The purpose of this study is to identify the user features for an online sports community network. Social networks sites are on a rapid increase. Designers of these sites need to consider what features are critical to optimally facilitate their users’ behaviour on these sites. This identification of features will seek to enhance the growth and development of a site’s social communities and allow for its ultimate success. This study focuses on establishing the social networking ecosystem by identifying the role of social networks in society, the user behaviour trends on social network sites and the key features required for a social network site. Furthermore, the study establishes the role of sports fans in society and digital trends for online sports fans visiting sports sites. This study met the research objectives from the findings gained from relevant literature and the employment of an empirical research study. The latter was carried out by means of an online questionnaire targeting an audience that qualified to be both social media lovers and online sports fans. The research disclosed fundamental findings with regards to the user behaviour and frequency of usage of both social network sites and sports sites. Specifically, it was determined that the technological behaviours in the social technographic profile for online users were aligned to those of the social technographic profile for social media lovers and online sports fans. Consequently, the key features of social network sites and most frequently-used features on sports sites could be used to identify the features required for an online sports community network. The main conclusion drawn from this research was a list of features required for a sports community network. These features were determined for the initial launch phase of a sports community network. Enhancement and development of new features would be required to facilitate the user requirements as the site grows. It is therefore important for the success of the sports community site that the owners or designers continuously review the user requirements and adapt, enhance and develop features as the site gains traction. This research study recommends that the list provided be used for the initial design and launch phase of an online sports community network. This list should be constantly evaluated from a usercentric perspective as the site grows.