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We recently launched the theme configuration for Social Digest.   You can now choose between a light and dark theme and select a highlight color which matches your branding.  I thought this would be a great time to go into the deeper thinking behind the design and structure of Social Digest.  This article is definitely a deeper more analytical dive so I’ve broken it into two parts.

Part 1:  Why design just isn’t enough.

Kaskade Social Digest

About two months ago I visited the MOMA to see a specific exhibit on Dieter Rams. If you’re not familiar with Dieter Rams, he designed beautiful products and had a very specific code by which he worked.  He actually defined that code into 10 steps which you can find here.

I seldom say this, but visiting this exhibit actually revolutionized the way I look at design.  It was truly one of those ‘aha’ moments I hear so many speak about and had never truly experienced.  What I took away from being immersed in his way of product design was that you never start with design in mind.  You start with the content or the experience.  Now, I’ve heard great designers say this many times but it never really clicked with me.  Up until that day, I had always concerned myself with “Is this pretty” or “What do I want this to look like?”  Dieter boils everything down to the primary function before even thinking about the form.

Dieters Spartan approach to design was simply inspiring.

Dieters exhibit gave me a fresh new way to approach product design, and the first one to see that in practice was the next Social Digest.

The conclusion I walked away with is that you start with content, and then you design;  That good design is the least amount of design necessary to make a really useful product.

I started really thinking about the primary function of Social Digest and came to the conclusion that its the conversation between influencer and fan.  I felt that the dialogue had to not only be preserved but set center stage.  I also knew that without fans, there wouldn’t be an influencer in the first place.  The existence of one very much depends on the other, therefore there is no such thing as true independence.  There is only interdependence.  If a great record is made and there’s no one around to hear it, does it get played?

What makes someone a fan of something?  Great content.  Since Social Digest is a product full of content, I focused on that.   What form does content take on the web?  It comes by way of video, written word, audio, and pictures.  That is what attracts fans in the first place:  A great record,  a great music video,  a great book or recipe.  So in order to make a product that fans embrace, I came to the conclusion that the content needs to be unimpeded by design.  The content needs to be the hero.

Tomorrow, we’ll dive into each part of the design and the thinking behind it.  Until then, you stay classy, FanBridgers.

Tyler Schuett is the Head of Design at FanBridge. Learn more about Tyler here.


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