Sometimes the most compelling and visited sites on the Internet are lacking in any kind of design sense, and simply provide the basic information that people are looking for. Two examples: Craig’s List and Reddit.com. Once I read a story about how all of these designers were pulling their hair out because Craig Newmark’s site is so 1990. Even the choice of fonts is old, old school, Times Roman? But people never have asked or expected to see Craig’s List Version 5, because good old version 1 just works so well.
Ask any newspaper classified ad department–in fact I bet if you met a classified director and mentioned CL, he’d not be happy. Craig has killed help wanted, apartments for rent, and items for sale by giving it away for free in all but a handful of bigger markets. Design wise, Reddit takes a similar approach. It’s simply text but it’s fascinating text.
Last night I read a thread in my favorite Reddit subject area, Self/AskReddit where people all chime in with stories about a question. Last night’s was “what was the most satisfying time you caught someone in a lie?” The stories related tales of pathological liars, of cheating girlfriends, and some great anecdotes like one about a guy who goes out to his sports car to find another guy pretending that he owns the car bragging to three girls. The owner hits the key button that turns on the lights, blowing the lie of the imposter.
Stories like this keep me reading late into the night. I was inspired today when someone named Emily Morton emailed me asking me to submit my best blog posts to a new Reddit category about blogs called Reddit Blog Central. You bet! I will now be a contributor to what I think is one of the world’s most entertaining websites. Yippee!