The meteoric rise of Facebook into the frontal lobes of the Internet may have killed the whole concept of Website design. It is interesting to note how much more popular FaceBook has become than MySpace, when MySpace promised so much more flexibility with design and customisation of your MySpace page.
FaceBook's Web design is essentially as plain and boring as you can get, yet nobody seems to mind or complain. Why?
My guess is that it is because most people are not Website designers. If you give them the tools to customise their Web page design, chances are they will make it look horrible. Flashing stars, fireworks and clashing primary colours abound on MySpace Web page designs. FaceBook's approach is to focus exclusively on the content; text, images, links and actions all done within the same boring desiign framework.
From a social networking point of view, this makes a lot of sense. It keeps Facebook clean and user-friendly and basically prevents anyone from ruining it. But do we really want an Internet with no design? Of course not. That's like saying all movies should be video versions of stage plays, or all food ought to fulfill basic nutritional needs and that's all. Design is a fundamental faculty of human experience and evolution.
One must keep something in mind when it comes to Facebook's design/brand – it is Facebook's, not the members'. They own the site, they profit from it – it suits them to have it the way it is and it works for them. If they ever change it, it will be because they believe it will be more profitable to do so, not because they they think it will be cool to have more design flexibility for their users. If they keep it, it will be for the exact same reason – it is more profitable to keep it that way.
Even though Facebook might be huge right now, it is not the entire Internet. It is not the answer to all the world's problems. It doesn't fulfill every human need. It is a Website where people can post content, designed to maximise profits for Facebook.
The rest of the world, the non-Facebook world – you know; businesses, community organisations, individuals, social networks, associations and Websites – still exist, still have a future and are still quietly working away on their missions, goals and objectives. Those objectives are most likely very different from Facebook's. They may be to make the world a better place, not to rule the world. They may be to make just enough money to have a good life, not to become the richest man in history. They may be to have just enough members that each member feels an equal part of the entity, not just one of a billion 'users' feeding a marketing machine. For them, design might still play a very important role. Specialist Websites, special interest groups, small businesses, international organisations and media outlets all continue to require appropriately and artistically designed Websites. Sure, they may all end up posting their links on the bland mass social media outlets, but they are links to the rest of the Web – the exciting, organic, ever-changing Internet, where ideas abound and new paradigms are created on a daily basis. Facebook has killed Website design at Facebook, but click on any link that anyone posts on their news feed and you will discover a Web that is alive and well.