Traditional design obsolete?

April 4, 2006

Jeff Veen, really big dude and recent appointee to Google via the acquisition of Measure Map, yesterday posted a podcast entitled Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps.

What interests me is his third point, The Role of Design:

User generated content and architecture are creating an architecture of participation that makes > traditional design techniques obsolete. Or at least that idea keeps popping up. How does this influence the way you all craft features?

I work in an advertising agency. Traditional design is everywhere. All over the walls, scattered on desks, waiting to be picked up from the recycling bin. It is on the web here, here and here.

I'm all for progress. Pushing our limits as designers. Encouraging forward-thinking entrepreneurs to take risks and do things differently. Presenting content in all sorts of new and abstract ways.

I want to be supportive of user generated content and architecture, but honestly, I can't think of a single good example where this is occurring on the web today.

Is Jeff Veen right? That, for right now, it's still just an idea?

Obviously, MySpace comes to mind, but does it allow for both content and architecture? Definitely the former, but the latter? Perhaps on a small scale.

My question is: what other services are currently available that encourage people to generate both content and architecture in ways that greatly impact the experience for everybody else?