There are a couple recently released interviews with legendary Braun designer Dieter Rams. The video below is a short discussion between the director of London’s Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic, and Rams. It is a short piece and I encourage you to watch the entire thing. In particular pay attention to the bit starting around the 3:30 mark.
Notice the emphasis on the user. Deyan puts it perfectly when he says, “In a way you invite the user to become a co-designer in that you allow them the possibility of change.”
Think about that statement for a second in the context of a news organization.
Rams argues that design means creating something that allows for change, even when it is initiated by the relatively uninformed user.
This coming from a man known for designing such traditionally fixed items as chairs, bookshelves, and radio systems. If Rams can design a chair that puts the user at the center why in the world are we still failing at creating a system for news that does the same?
Good design gets out of the way. Good design presents an object as what it is and then lets the user find the best use for it. Good design is not presenting the same tired information in the same tired manner and expecting the user to thank you for being so authoritative and progressive.