The Problems That Arise When Sites Don’t Look Like UnBeige

This writer doesn’t always connect into the web debates, because he isn’t much of a code person, but when we ran across this today, seemingly opening a door into something far deeper and more interesting than we first suspected, then we got into it. This ongoing battle, as far as we can figure out, is the camps of “great design and great content can work together on the internet, no problem” and “no it can’t.” If you take links back through the various posts, starting with the one we ran across on Airbag (which actually responds to an older post on Airbag), “The ugly-design-is-most-efficient discussion misses the point,” you’ll get into a really great debate about all of this stuff. You may not necessarily form an decisive opinion right away, but dang if it don’t make you get to thinkin.’ Here’s a bit from that initial post:

Most commenters tell the “design is form & function” and “design makes communication better” stuff. If you are designer it seems to be very painful to agree that Scoble is (mostly) right: there are a lot of overdesigned websites.

What’s the nature of the web? A powershift. The web makes easy access to information to everyone. I can look up stock quotes, price tags for consumer goods, crosscheck what my doctor says or my advocate. Things i could not do before. The web shifts a part of the power from companies and institutions to the individual. That’s great and therefore we all love the internet.

Design has its root in the opposite direction. Design is visible authority. Design is expensive, not everyone can afford it. Authorities always used design to make their power visible. Any designer must be reminded that the toolset we are using has its origin in expressing power within a society.