Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Lifecycle of Design: Part 3

This is part 3 of a series on design lifecycles ...

"Joshua Porter
First off, I think that Craigslist and MySpace exposing their full content is a design decision…maybe one made without much thought but a design decision nonetheless. If *all* sites simply exposed their content to the world like these two sites, we would probably be better off. So many successful things have come from happy accidents that it doesn’t bother me to think that MySpace might be a happy accident…until you read how relentless they are about updating the site with useful things. Kathy Sierra’s talks more to this.

Del.icio.us and Craigslist are well designed because they solve a problem for users. Del.icio.us is great for bookmarking and Craigslist is great for personals. Although it seems obvious after the fact that bookmarks and personals are compelling…it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Someone made the decisions to expose this content, and designed a system in which people could add such value. The sheer simplicity of the idea is obscuring the sophistication of it. That’s a recurring theme: the best ideas are the most obvious ones (in hindsight).

You’ve made a distinction between compelling content and good design. I would argue that you’re taking compelling content for granted. Most people would kill for the compelling content on those two sites! As content is king, if you have compelling content you’re well on your way to the big time. Much of the energy in the design world is now about user-generated content…actually getting people to use a system over time and add their content to it.

If design is how something works, it is impossible to separate content from design. Design is not simply the presentation of the content, it is how the content works to solve the problem of users. That means that content isn’t this black box…choosing the right content makes or breaks the design in many cases.

We’re highlighting a common problem here. Web designers are often tasked with the presentation of content without having any role in what content they’re presenting. But if design is how something works, then it’s all design. Both the selection of the content and the presentation of it."    (Continued via Bokardo)    [Usability Resources]

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