Open for DesignMy readers are really the best. A long time print and online reader sent along the link to the site “Open for Design” which was built by MSN, a Microsoft company. If this site were a person it would wear sunglasses at night, as part of the uber-cool group. It clearly took the idea of being “open for design” and tried to improve on it.

I think it failed in many ways, but because they are subtle failures it could almost be seen as successful.When you arrive, you don’t really know much about why you are there. The pretty flash interface has some real nice lines, and a design that pulls you in. With five simple large boxes that are buttons you roll your mouse around and explore.

But then it gets confusing. You quickly notice an “Issuse No. 7: Light”. Curious? I was. Why would a website have an “issue number”. Looking further you see the various boxes had titles and subjects. A “Light” goes on! This must be some sort of e-zine (electronic magazine.)

Exploring further it appears each section is owned by a writer or too. They write in a blog format, publishing regularly while the main page boxes are “feature stories”. Ok I am getting the swing of things. Articles on style by Dmitri Siegel, living by Alex Schweder, city by Matthew Stadler, art by Eileen Myles and tech by Tsia Carson are well written but interestingly the choice was to use a blog publishing tool. As the writer for Techlife, I can’t complain about blogs after all right?

I advise clients all the time on blog technology, starting a blog, the merits of publishing a blog and why they should or should not write one. Yes, there I said it. Some people and businesses shouldn’t write a blog! Blasphemy? Maybe. Back to Open for Design, I found it curious that they publish in a blog but without any visible RSS feeds. (An RSS feed is the technology service that lets a user subscribe to the blog free of charge. It basically updates them when a blog publishes something new.) Why write with a blog if you can’t subscribe? And these days why not offer a subscription to everything?

I am sure this whole project, which was sponsored by a big car company, was the brainchild of advertising who sold it as people will come back because of our high brow design, our great writers and subject matter. I feel MSN’s error in judgment could be easily corrected. Add RSS feeds to the site all over. After all, wouldn’t that cross promote their push for rss? What do you think? Do you like it or hate it? Does it the good outweigh the bad? Share your thoughts here.
Final Take: Visit Open for Design enjoy it, but likely you won’t remember to go back and that is the true shame.

If you are considering blogging for fun or for your company, contact Dave to discuss the project and get some insight. Dave can also help you set up the blog and provide training. Local Politician? New product to market? Long time veteran in your career? There are many reasons people want a platform and we can make that platform a reality. Contact us at: helpmeblog at dkworldwide dot com.