Department - Author 1

Graphic Communication Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Graphic Communication



Primary Advisor

Ken Macro


This study began by designing the layout of a new social networking Web site and putting it to practical use. A team of computer science students at Cal Poly developed this social networking site for their senior project, and called it Friend Riot. The new and innovative features that Friend Riot consists of set it apart from other popular social networking Web sites, but its interface was lacking a good design. When the new design was implemented, it was tested against the competition: Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects that Web design and usability have on social networking Web sites. Web design involves the colors, look and feel, and how the site is organized, while usability measures how easily users can navigate through a Web site.

There were two tests that were done in this study corresponding with design and usability—a survey and usability test. The survey revealed the current most popular social networking sites, and the usability test quantified the ease of use that these Web sites provide.

The usability of a Web site can be determined by many factors, such as the location, the navigation, the contrast between colors, how certain items are made visible, and many others. These are also factors that determine the design of the Web site, therefore usability and design work together. To achieve maximum customer satisfaction, a developer must not only design the site to be unique, but must also follow conventions that decrease the time users spend learning how the Web site works. This study examines the differences and similarities between social networking Web sites, and assess the potential success that Friend Riot has in the social networking world.