Title: Experience design for communities in virtual worlds: come for the attraction, stay for the interaction

Authors: Thomas Kohler, Kurt Matzler, Katja Hutter, Robin Thiemann, Johann Fuller

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business Administration, Hawaii Pacific University, 1132 Bishop Street, Suite 504-4, Honolulu, 96813, Hawaii; Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, Innsbruck University School of Management, Universitaetsstrasse 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria. ' Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, Innsbruck University School of Management, Universitatsstr. 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria. ' Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, Innsbruck University School of Management, Universitatsstr. 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria. ' Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH, Mies-van-der-Rohe-Str. 8, D-80807 Munich, Germany. ' HYVE AG, Schellingstrasse 45, D-80799 Munich, Germany; Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, Innsbruck University School of Management, Universitaetsstrasse 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract: Virtual worlds offer unprecedented opportunities for companies to tap the innovative potential of consumers and consumer communities. One central precondition of a co-creation approach is to turn a one-time visitor into a returning member of an innovating community. The purpose of this article is to explore how virtual space and the interaction with users needs to be designed to achieve sustained engagement among avatars and motivate them to contribute to innovation tasks. Based on focus groups with experienced Second Life residents and qualitative interviews with co-creating consumers, we suggest ways to design the virtual space and propose strategies to effectively build community. This research extends theory about consumer communities to virtual worlds and provides practical guidelines how to successfully design virtual co-creation projects in virtual worlds.

Keywords: Second Life; avatar-based innovation; virtual worlds; co-creation; consumer community theory; community building; experience design; avatars; user interaction; virtual space design; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.039509

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.2, pp.174 - 188

Available online: 06 Apr 2011

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