Design 2.0

The phrase “Web 2.0” refers to the rise of social media over the past four or five years, in which users post their own content as well as shaping the way existing content is viewed through commenting, voting, rating, tagging, and other forms of interaction.

Blogging is a big part of this. Most people are familiar now with blogs as on-line diaries or informal mouthpieces for journalists and commentators. But blogging is a design tool as well as a genre of writing and publishing. It’s seeping into the design process.

For example, this Web site for Design Life Now is created with Textpattern, free software designed for building blogs as well as for making more general-purpose sites. The site was designed by Bill Berry, Cooper-Hewitt’s in-house Web designer. By using “bloggish” software, Bill could allow curators like myself to upload content directly to the site while he focused on the visual design and information structure. We didn’t want the site to look like a blog, so Bill took out tell-tell signs like time stamps after every article.

More and more design processes are heading in this direction. Throughout the Design Life Now exhibition, you’ll see examples of what I call Design 2.0: participatory design processes that invite users into the game. For example, Natalie Jermijenko works with kids to reverse-engineer robot toys, turning them into pollution-sensing green machines. Processing is an open-source computer language for visual artists; Processing come alive as people around the world put it to use. Blik creates removable graphics for people to arrange on their own walls in their own way. Whether physical or digital, these are all examples of Design 2.0: design for the people, made with the people.