Designing for Social Media: 2011

Is it really about icon sets and wallpaper? A mod here, a video there?

As social media continue to mature, it feels like a good time to reassess how design fits in, and where things are headed.

First, the challenges.
With social media, traditional web designers find themselves ceding some of the most basic design decisions. YouTube and Facebook grids are more or less off-limits, leaving designers to supply the window dressing.

The speed of content poses challenges too. Design a theme in WordPress, and you’ll likely be handing it over to someone else to populate. Menus and pages need to be specific enough to shine, but general enough to withstand the judgment of whoever is sticking in the content.

But there’s also some opportunity.
Just as web 1.0 posed similar challenges, this revolution also has its rewards. As bandwidth improves and social channels become ever more vital, more opportunities will emerge for designers and artists. (Note how social sites have gotten more design-friendly with newer versions.)

Those who are able to think holistically, embrace the elements that can be changed, and accept their limitations, will be the ones who come out ahead. Just check out what some creative people have done with the new Facebook profile page. Imagine what this kind of thinking can do for your designs?

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More on the future of Web Design, by Jacob Gube

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About mathisworks
I'm Mike Mathis, a visual communication designer. Mathisworks Discussion is my forum to explore corporate communication strategies, as they relate to design.

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