I just don’t like MySpace. I can’t stand how ugly it is, how difficult it is to navigate through the volume of ads, how I can’t watch any of the media because you need Windows XP, and how incredibly slow and difficult it is. But it’s a hit.

Every time I read a good book on usability, design, or interaction, I find myself really glad to be in this line of work. I get really excited to work on another project. But then I go online, and can’t help but notice how many sites completely ignore so much of what we’ve learned. And are just plain ugly.

Jesse James Garrett has another theory. Perhaps the poor design of the site as a whole encourages its users to add content without fear of looking bad.

The unrefined look of MySpace sends another message to users: We’re like you. You’re not a designer, and neither are we. We’re not here to show off our design skills, we’re here to connect.

Is this true? Can poor, haphazard design encourage more user interaction? At first, I had thought the schizophrenic design’s only positive effect was to obscure the ads, but perhaps Mr. Garrett has a point.

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