*ChickpeaIn 2007, I went to Stone Henge. It was designed.

Dylan Tweney, Senior Editor, at Wired Magazine probably never took an interaction design course with Jeff Bardzell or Erik Stolterman. In an Atlantic magazine article yesterday, her wrote about the “undesigned web.” Yesterday, in class, Jeff had a conversation with our class about how everyone is a designer. Everything is designed, we all make assumptions and decisions with our goals in mind at many points during our days and lives.

Tweney says:

Message and presentation were inextricably intertwined, with the latter lending power, impact and even meaning to the former. Not for nothing was Marshall McLuhan able to say, with gnomic brevity but not a little insight, “the medium is the message.”

But in the 21st century, Internet standards have successfully separated design and content. The two live more interdependent lives, sometimes tightly tied and sometimes completely separated from one another.

The message is now free from the medium.

It’s that separability of design and text that has led to the third wave of the web, in which readers (or what some would call end-users) are in control of how the content they are reading looks. And, as it turns out, many of those readers like their designs to be as minimal as possible.

Call this wave The Undesigned Web.

This wave has two faces. One is the trend towards more minimal, readable designs. The other is the imperative to make content as easily reformattable as possible, separating content from the designs in which it’s initially clothed.

You can see it at work in tools like Instapaper and Readability. You can see it in applications like Flipboard, which filter and reformat news through the lens of your social network. And you can see it in news readers like Google News, which present every website’s latest articles in a consistent, quickly-scannable and easily searchable format.

In fact, it’s possible not just for publishers, but for readers and viewers to recast the message into new media, stripping it of its former context and reformatting, republishing, and reframing it at will.

I challenge you Tweney, is this system not design itself?

A minmal, readable design is absolutely still a design. When has minimalism ever been the absence of design? The absence of design is not possible. Google.com is minimal. Craigslist is minimal. Even the Vuvuzela app, which is basically a button that plays one magical sound, is minimal. But those have all certainly been designed. Even if someone creates a website and knows nothing of design like a professional does, the decisions they make or do not make, are still design.

What he means here is a fixed, formal layout. A person has not physically hand coded or crafted a layout specific to the medium. TechCrunch probably reads best on techcrunch.com and the New York Times probably reads the best on NewYorkTimes.com. I write my posts such that they fit the widths and paragraph styles of this blog!

But, are these content producers, developers and designers not  not also considering feed readers and services like Instapaper? The good ones are. They should be. They might be doing it without even thinking about it. That being said, does it not then make the content still designed? It does.

via ninamehta.com/blog

*Upon user research with 3 HCI students, there was a unanimous decision to include Stone Henge with chicken versus without.

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