UX Virality: 7 Short Lessons

The word “viral” comes from the fact that digital things spread across the internet in the same way that actual viruses spread through groups of people in real life. Therefore, by understanding how real viruses are “designed” to get the job done, you can make your designs more “viral” as well.


Epidemiology — the study of real epidemics and viruses — fits into UX design surprisingly well. When you’re trying to design something that you want to spread rapidly across the web, or via word-of-mouth.

Below you will find 7 short lessons that explain some of the fundamental characteristics of viral products, apps, and content.

Whether we’re talking about The Harlem Shake, or Snapchat, or Buzzfeed quizzes, they all share attributes of real viruses, and without those attributes they could not have spread as well as they do.

Although virality can become technical and mathematical, I have focused on the ideas rather than the calculations. I like to keep shit quick and easy around here. ;)



UX Virality:

#01 — The Difference Between Virality and Popularity

#02 — Viral Cycle

#03 — Transmission & K-Factor

#04 — Designing Adaptability

#05 — Viral Emotions

#06 — Incidence Rate

#07 — Prevalence

Questions? Ask me on Twitter.